As a young reporter, Cokie Roberts was my north star.
I was raised in Washington D.C., enveloped by government. Cabinet members and congressmen regularly dined at our house. In fact, in the 1970’s I suffered the mortification of spilling caviar on the crotch of the leader of China when a historic state dinner was held at our farmhouse in McLean, Virginia.
As I worked my way up the journalism ladder, I wondered how I could balance objective reporting with my background. From my perspective, government officials weren’t perfect, but I knew most approached public service with honorable intentions and were trying to serve their country. Yes, some went astray, but it was unfair to approach all of Washington with a jaundiced eye.
Cokie Roberts had mastered this dynamic. She had grown up as Washington royalty—both parents served in Congress – and knew the players and personalities better than anyone. She used this knowledge to educate her viewers, readers and listeners. No one covered a crucial Senate confirmation battle better than Cokie; she understood the process thoroughly and as a result could provide crystal-clear analysis.
When Cokie visited the "Morning Joe" set a year ago, it indeed felt like royalty was in our presence. But she put us all at ease and while she had the bearing of a queen, she was incredibly warm and kind to everyone. We were all in awe and also fell in love.
And now, along with so many others, we are heartbroken.