David Broder, one of the nation's premier political reporters for decades, was a curious mix of old and new.
He combined unglamorous shoe-leather reporting with a knack for detecting trends ahead of his competitors. A rumpled dresser with thick glasses and a shirt pocket full of pens and pencils, he was constantly in demand by good-looking TV news hosts who craved the insights and knowledge he had gained while covering every presidential campaign since 1960.
The Washington Post reporter and columnist earned the unofficial title "dean" of political reporters as a comparatively young man. But he kept working until his 80s, sometimes typing away in an incredibly cluttered office late at night or on Sundays in a nearly empty newsroom.
Broder, who was 81 when he died Wednesday from complications from diabetes, was so renowned for his even-handed, down-the-middle approach that politicians spent years debating whether he was at heart a Republican or Democrat.
Fittingly, accolades poured in from all sides Wednesday. President Barack Obama said Broder "built a well-deserved reputation as the most respected and incisive political commentator of his generation." The president added: "Through all his success, David remained an eminently kind and gracious person, and someone we will dearly miss."