Vice President Joe Biden on Tuesday delivered a personal, and at times emotional, tribute to David Broder, the Washington Post reporter who died March 9 of complications from diabetes. Biden, along with members of Broder’s family and colleagues from the Post, spoke at a memorial service for Broder at the National Press Club in Washington.
“From my perspective, David Broder lived a life that was full and complete,” Biden said. “I not only admired him, but I learned from him.” The vice president arrived on the stage after Broder’s son, Josh Broder, introduced him by describing the long and close history the two men had enjoyed since before Biden was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1972.
Part of that history was a relationship that ran deeper than just reporter and story subject. “There’s no person who’s ever covered me for whom I cared not what they wrote me… but I cared what he thought about me,” Biden said. “I can tell you that I learned something. I learned more about myself. I took it seriously,” he said of Broder’s work.
He described keeping a framed copy of the story Broder wrote at the end of his bid for the presidency during the 1988 election cycle as testament to how well Broder distilled the essence of his subject. Biden dropped out of that race after allegations that he had pilfered lines from the leader of the British Labour Party
Biden also spoke about Broder’s role as a towering figure in journalism, someone who covered Washington “with no malice, no sentimentality, and no excuses,” and he said more reporters should seek to emulate Broder's legacy. “In a town full of monuments, David Broder stood tall, and if you’ll forgive me… he stood tall as a monument to journalism. He was fair, he was fearless in the pursuit of both truth and of justice.”
Professional journalists, Biden said, “would be well to recalibrate and look at what made him what he was.”