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Remembering Post reporter David S. Broder

Friday, March 11, 2011; 8:52 PM

Regarding the March 10 front-page obituary for David S. Broder, "Dean of the Washington press corps":

I was a young reporter in a small town in western Kentucky, aspiring to cover politics, when I sent Mr. Broder a letter in 1982 asking him if I could meet with him at the Democrats' midterm convention in Philadelphia to get his advice about covering small-town politics. I followed up with a phone call and reached an assistant who essentially said, "Mr. Broder is way too busy to talk to you or meet you." I left my name and number anyway.

Deflated, I tried to focus on my work. Fifteen minutes later the phone rang. "Hi. This is David Broder. I would love to meet with you." Our conversation in Philadelphia was one of the highlights of my career. Although many details have faded, I still remember his response when I asked him how he stayed objective and avoided becoming friends with the people he covered, particularly in Washington. "I don't attend dinner parties," he said.

Thank you, Mr. Broder, for inspiring legions of young journalists and never getting too big to give them a helping hand.

Deborah Duffy, Arlington

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Robert G. Kaiser, an associate editor for The Post, wrote in a March 10 op-ed piece that David Broder "earned the admiration of an extraordinary range of American politicians." More important, Mr. Broder earned the respect of his legions of readers.

Howard Eskildson, Rockville

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What seemed to me most distinctive and important about David Broder was his faith in people and in America's democracy. In a punditry world dominated by cynicism, negativity, bombast and derision, Mr. Broder celebrated and modeled civility and optimism, and he regularly called our attention to dedicated public servants.

Maybe there were times when Mr. Broder judged someone too charitably or when his optimism about our politics wasn't borne out. But to paraphrase what Porkypine said in the old "Pogo" comic strip when Pogo expressed a similar faith in humanity's basic goodness: "Well, if you gotta be wrong about something, that's the best thing to keep on being wrong about."

David Broder was a national treasure, and he will be sorely missed. May his work and his character encourage us to live up to the faith he had in us.

Perry Beider, Silver Spring

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David Broder will be missed. Those of us in America's heartland appreciated how he carried our voices to the people in Washington, who all too often are out touch with our concerns.

Through his reporting, he gave voice to the American voter. I know I became a better citizen after reading his work.

While no one can replace him, American journalism needs more men and women who follow his example of political reporting - talking to voters, listening and more listening.

Pamela DeSalvo, Dearborn, Mich.

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