ABC News colleagues remember Cokie Roberts: 'She knew what was important'

PHOTO: Cokie Roberts is shown during ABC News coverage of the inauguration of President-Elect Donald Trump.PlayHeidi Gutman/ABC
WATCH Legendary journalist Cokie Roberts’ life covering politics: Part 1

Cokie Roberts left a mark on the American political landscape, and her death is being felt closer to home within ABC News.

As her colleagues from the past three decades shared memories of the legend, a resounding theme was that in addition to caring about the latest political news, Roberts cared deeply about her colleagues and their personal lives.

"Her first question was always, 'How are your kids?'" chief anchor George Stephanopoulos said Tuesday during ABC News Live's Special Report.

"She knew what was important and she communicated that," Stephanopoulos said.

PHOTO: George Stephanopoulos and Cokie Roberts are shown during coverage from Vatican City in Rome, Italy, of the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI and the selection of his successor, Feb. 28, 2013. Drew Millhon/ABC
George Stephanopoulos and Cokie Roberts are shown during coverage from Vatican City in Rome, Italy, of the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI and the selection of his successor, Feb. 28, 2013.

Chief Global Affairs Correspondent Martha Raddatz echoed that sentiment, saying Roberts was more than just a journalism mentor and they "spent a great deal of time talking about our grandchildren."

"It was her office where you would go if you were having a bad day. It was her office where you would go if you wanted to talk about something personal," Raddatz said.

Chief White House Correspondent Jon Karl said that even recently, Roberts went further than just asking about his daughter.

"She was a mentor, a friend, incredibly generous colleague. Just a little over a week ago, she took my daughter Emily out to lunch. That was Cokie Roberts, somebody who would reach out and mentor young journalists. She was certainly someone who guided me through my first days at ABC News. I miss her already. I love Cokie Roberts," Karl said during the Special Report.

Female colleagues, like senior congressional correspondent Mary Bruce, recalled how Roberts was a role model and support system who "was always there for me for so many young women and men" and pushed "us to be better."

PHOTO: ABC News covers of President Trumps State Of The Union Address, from Washington, D.C., Feb. 5, 2019. Pawel Kaminski/ABC
ABC News covers of President Trump's State Of The Union Address, from Washington, D.C., Feb. 5, 2019.

Bruce recalled that while getting their makeup done together, "the first question would always be, 'How's the family? How's everyone at home doing?'"

Correspondent Karen Travers posted on Twitter that after she spent three months in the newborn intensive care unit with her twins, Roberts "checked on me every week. She brought homemade food to our porch – Louisiana style, of course! Plus wine."

Sunny Hostin, ABC's senior legal correspondent and a co-host of "The View," recalled how she was "very nervous" to be seated next to Roberts during the network's coverage of Brett Kavanaugh's Senate confirmation hearings, but Roberts "reached over and grabbed my hand."

"Afterwards I sort of leaned over to her and she said, 'You did good,'" Hostin said on "The View" Tuesday. "She sort of gave me that stamp of approval that I didn't even know that I needed."

"She's going to be really, really missed because we all looked up to her," she added.

Whenever I sat next to her, I felt like I was sitting next to a giant.

Former Democratic National Committee chairwoman Donna Brazile called in to ABC's Special Report and said she "will miss a fellow fan of the New Orleans Saints and somebody who cared about all people," as Roberts' family had long ties to the Bayou State.

"Whenever I sat next to her, I felt like I was sitting next to a giant," Brazile said.

Chief Justice Correspondent Pierre Thomas called Roberts "iconic, extraordinary, exacting, the consummate journalist."

"We're all crestfallen at the loss of Cokie, someone we all loved, someone we all admired," he said.

PHOTO: Terry Moran and Cokie Roberts are shown during ABC News coverage of the election, Nov. 6, 2018. Lorenzo Bevilaqua/ABC
Terry Moran and Cokie Roberts are shown during ABC News coverage of the election, Nov. 6, 2018.

Senior national correspondent Terry Moran spoke about how Roberts' faith.

"She was a devout Catholic, and those of us who worked with her on some of those stories know how important her faith was to her, how much she lived it. She was somebody who walked the walk of the Gospels," he said. "One of the things you've heard a lot is how kind she was to everyone. I went through a hard time in my own life -- my own faith life -- and I will never forget how Cokie was so understanding and so warm and so supportive and I am not the only one."

Her former "This Week" co-anchor Sam Donaldson praised her role as a "fierce advocate for women's rights and women's recognition."

"We think the great ones are always going to be there and with someone like Cokie, [their passing] is going to break our hearts whether she wanted to or not. We all loved her," Donaldson said.