David Broder, the Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post political columnist whose evenhanded treatment of Democrats and Republicans set him apart from the ideological warriors on the nation's op-ed pages, died Wednesday. He was 81.
Post officials said Broder died of complications from diabetes.
Broder, an Illinois native, was familiar to television viewers as a frequent panelist on NBC's "Meet the Press" program. He appeared on the program more than 400 times, far more than any other journalist in the show's history.
To newspaper readers, he was one of the nation's most prominent syndicated columnists. A September 2007 study by the liberal media watchdog group Media Matters found that Broder was second among columnists only to George Will in the combined circulation of newspapers in which his column appeared.
He was the only one of the top five that the group did not label as either conservative or liberal.
"His evenhanded approach has never wavered. He'd make a good umpire," wrote Alan Shear, editorial director of the Washington Post Writers Group, which syndicated Broder's column. "Dave is neither left nor right, and can't even be called reliably centrist. He reports exhaustively and his conclusions are grounded in hard facts."
One of his hallmarks was a special effort to meet lots of average citizens who, in the end, really decide elections. In a 1991 lecture, Broder said reporters should spend "a lot of time with voters ... walking precincts, knocking on doors, talking to people in their living rooms. If we really got clearly in our heads what it is voters are concerned about, it might be possible to let their agenda drive our agenda."
The full Times obituary is here.
-- Associated Press
Photo: David Broder on "Meet the Press" in 2008. Credit: Alex Wong/Getty Images for "Meet the Press"