Friends remember legendary journalist Cokie Roberts

Roberts had a storied career as a political commentator over 40 years in television and radio.
18:59 | 09/17/19

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Transcript for Friends remember legendary journalist Cokie Roberts
Good morning everyone and were coming on the air at this hour with breaking news and it is sad news for all of the security ABC. Our longtime colleague and friend Cokie Roberts has passed away at the age of 75. From complications from breast cancer. A pioneer in political journalism a best selling author and historian. A devoted mother and grandmother she has been a mainstay of ABC's political coverage. Her insight invaluable. Her remarkable career spanning decades facing off with presidents and political leaders her interviews with first ladies. She was a co anchor and contributor of ABC's this week Cokie Roberts grew up with a front row seat to Washington and democracy. Her father hale Boggs was a house majority leader who died in a plane crash her mother Lindy was elected to fill her late husband's seat. And Cokie who considered the family business instead decided to report on it right about it witness it along with the rest of us she had a brilliant mind. Matched only by her kindness her grace her wit here is Robin Roberts on the trail blazing legacy of Cokie Roberts. She's been a fixture behind the news to ask for over forty years. We're following two major stories tonight reporting on the stories that shaped generations. Pres president Clinton's problems with Gennifer Flowers but not just her word of this tape recordings journalism was her calling but. Politics will that was cookies passion as a reporter and author she trail blazed her way through an industry where women were just breaking through. Her full name was Mary Martha Kerr Rand Morrison. Claiborn Crawford's but anyone who knew her. Affectionately called her cocaine. Thank you for an. Having me and please commie country well I welcome I'm from the south to. Born in Louisiana in 1943. Cokie Roberts was the daughter of longtime US representatives hale Boggs and Lindy Boggs. Who collectively serve the people of New Orleans for 46 years. The other women who were in Washington when I was growing up we watch prime everything. We watch them run their political conventions campaigns. Through her parents she enjoyed a front row seat to history and politics. Which shaped her interest in Washington. Learning the world of congress the way other children learn to walk and talk as a young girl she considered to joining the family business. But in college her interest in journalism was strengthen. By her future husband Steve Roberts but her love and close ties to Washington we're never far behind. President Lyndon B Johnson famously even attended her wedding in 1966. She began working as an anchor and Washington a 21. And shortly after headed to New York to work as a reporter. It was essentially reporting and writing very brief little stories and I loved it for a landing at national public radio as a political commentator. From ABC news. But in 1980. She found her home right here the American people don't want this to go on but he. We only do I didn't inhale and I didn't you know I didn't I was never drafted and. At ABC news working as a contributor on this week cookies razor sharp mind your definition one. Plus right now at what they see it senator matched only by her infinite kindness. When the cameras stopped rural. Cameras here at Ed Gillespie a very important person. And always. Always a smile like giggle. Her sense of humor and headed about it I put up this week with become her home co anchoring the show was Sam Donaldson. From 1996. To 2002. From there she would become a staple at ABC news political coverage. Interviewing the residents politicians. And first ladies. Embodying. The idea of journalistic integrity. And female empowerment I hate to say 200 heads of female thing women does work together a lot. Much more so than their husbands much more so than men. If she would write several New York Times best sellers were counting the untold and remarkable contributions of women in American history. When I started out in the world of work it was ill legal of women to become generals or admirals. So there's a huge change in the years that. But I've been plowing this tech. And it received countless awards be cited as one of the fifty greatest women in the history of broadcasting. And hold more than thirty honorary degrees. Inspiring students with words at commencement -- across the country you must. Look at the institutions of government politics business the canopy in journalism. And hold them accountable to the people they are supposed to served. In 2002. Battling breast cancer and bravely facing going on the air wearing a wedding there's. I felt. The first going on the air and awaiting them that I looked really goofy. And I am and election night 2002. I believe it's my desk wig it was the human hair rig method synthetic ring. And I thought it just looked awful so I don't know ice is hard. Hair Cokie always the inspiration. For those who had the privilege and we're blessed as to work by her side. She made each one of her fellow colleagues better so I always striving for the best. And by always remembering and reminding us all to keep the compassion. In journalism. Thank you for your support it's important Cokie Roberts. The beloved mother of two grandmother of six. And a legend to us all. And she is certainly going to be missed I'm going to bring in now George Stephanopoulos of course a colleague and a friend in George. As you know coking never missed. An election night in inauguration. Political roundtable a political special report admit you were there alongside her for so much of that. I don't think he has much chemistry just last Thursday debated actually emailed her a few hours before the debate saying and I wish you were here couldn't like eruption your perspective on all the candidates she got right speculation China agritech. Seeing how much she missed being there as well but. She put distinctions it was a pioneer. And oriented to go to back to their Croatian neighborhood leftist. This significantly business church Cokie Roberts for her Stanley words. Not just politics the public service in the broadest sense of the word and she brought that spirit. To herd journalism I mean she really knew who the world knew that entire world so deeply. From the insurrection knew the players she knew the institutions actually knew the system worked and she has essentially can't. We're translating for bringing the ranch to all of our viewers all of her listeners. On NPR explaining. What was going on in Washington a way to make sense and that's why each. She wanted to picture all of our broadcasts the election by mid term elections a funerals inaugurations. Conventions. She knew everyone she knew the issue she knew little and she's here she'd deliberation communicated. The country charm and and there are rumors center Robin (%expletive) in her piece of the network cyber charter co Q percent over many years that you saw in the Indian grounds keeper a lot of credit status and analysis released towards finding any other start the Cokie Roberts co what was always a pleasure it has always been a pleasure she is just being entire side has its current and a colleague. The incident and tarnishing infinite warms the first question of retention which he would teach how you're kitsch he knew what was important she communicated that. Yes her family was most important above and beyond all politics George thank you so much for those spots. Want to bring in now longtime colleague and friend Sam Donaldson and salmon or you're joining us by phone and I just would love to hear your thoughts your fondest memories. Of Cokie. Eight. Well what a loss that it will we can integrate windows and some would like Cokie is. Only. To break our hearts whether wouldn't one cure not a larger and then Georgia has been very. Corrected talking about her and many skills. She doesn't agree is and a great reporter she knew Washington she's got from New Orleans New Orleans who would say. But the if she was born in the capital she says it couldn't hurt others feel books so. Majority leader Chris along. An injunction to consider wedding she knew everybody in town. On the side a very good little 207 in the piece we just heard. And Everett on the Brinkley show with David Brinkley show Cokie was a wonderful addition to that program here George. And I and then David duke George. Will you guys who that we need to turn then finally be. Other. Never forget the day when John Tower has been nominated to be secretary. I understand he was under heavy criticism from his critics on Capitol Hill though he came to the Brinkley show and then announced without. Being asked we hadn't had a chance to do it the student give up alcohol because people pretty great too much if you were to. The burned as a most of them descendant do a lot of your critics say you're also a womanizer this animated what you womanizer. What it's cracked fumbled around and but right Coke he spoke up in particular the steely glare and said senator I know Lungren I see what. I mean to belittle includes punctured. It is too little things have been the top and you know take no prisoners. How would come. Another time the Clinton news problem with the with two duke. White House intern. Mr. Clinton's private lawyer not not crucial items clerk at a came to them. When we show one day. Hadn't had a dissident. The Clinton camp listening oral sex was not sex because he's. They mislead this city had had no social and threw that woman who underwrote and so it nitroglycerin tablet and cookie look Edmondson who served. You think you're adventure wanted to learn. And once again the poor guy that maritime law here my luck got up during the break. Hard to find the door and walked into one of the lights and almost knocked over the studios. She she was certainly am voice and a perspective that his country needed and we'll always remember we thank you for your thoughts of Cokie Roberts. On this sad day thank you so much want to bring in Martha Raddatz who worked. Alongside Cokie Roberts for nearly thirty years Martha. I did Amy and her office right now is just down the hall from mine. She has just an extraordinary woman. George said. She knew it all. But she was never know it it was her office where would where you would go if she were having a bad day it was her office is if she wanted to talk about something personal. When Cokie was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2002. She was asked if that gave her a new perspective. She said she didn't need one because Stanley was always first and it was always first we spent a great deal of time talking about. Our grandchildren talking about our children. And the thing that strikes me is how Coke he wanted to contribute. Until the very end like George I was in touch with her. Just days ago last week about the Houston debate she wanted to be there. I she appeared on this week a month ago and it was clear she was having some health issues. The Cokie said I don't want this disease to get the better of me while I'll tell yet. No disease will get the better of Cokie Roberts she may have passed away but she was the past statement. But as her true Martha thank you for sharing. Those beautiful fox want to turn now to Jon Karl and John I know you also have so many memories. Of working with Cokie Roberts on those that countless political convention floors. Oh absolutely you know we're we're a think of politics I think a Cokie Roberts really came to ABC news more than fifteen years ago. I was in all of Cokie Roberts she was somebody that I admired I watched growing up by. I I couldn't think of things like a national political convention. Without thinking of Cokie Roberts there on the floor being more recognizable. Didn't the people that she was interviewing. She told me IA I interviewed her on the floor of the 26 team that a Democratic Convention she told me it was her 22. National political convention I think that may be a record. But she was a mentor friends. Incredibly generous colleague. Just a little over a week ago she took my daughter and we out to launch that was Cokie Roberts. Somebody who would reach out and mentor young journalists. She was certainly somebody that guided me through more my first days. At ABC news I'd I'd I'd miss her room already had died. Love Cokie Roberts. Us loan thank you so much Jonathan for sharing that want to bring in Terry Moran who also worked alongside. Cokie for so many years and Terry wanna hear your thoughts on this sad day. Well and she's a national treasure Cokie Roberts really one of the great political journalists and we experience that every day that. Brilliant intelligence. And as George Porter that you brought that remarkable personal and family history her dad was. You know majority leader of the house of represents she knew everybody in Washington for decades. And as Robert pointed out that he's dead that laugh she brought a kind of shared joy. At the human comedy of American politics she never lost a sense of of fun about it all while never yielding to any kind of cynicism she was if an idealist a fierce. Patriot and I also want to mention. Her faith issues a devout Catholic and those of us who whom whom worked with her on some of those stories no. How important her faith was to her how much she lived to choose somebody who walked the walk of the gospels it wanna things you've heard a lot. It's how kind she was to everyone. What I went through a hard time in my own life mount 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 she is. Not only a national treasure is one of the greatest human beings I've ever known and I'm not the only person who would say that. Her losses is a very deep one for all of us who loved her. For those who watched her and for the country I think. Now her kindness superseded all of her other many qualities Terry Moran thanks so much I want to bring in senior congressional correspondent Mary brisk as we've been talking about. Her kindness and certainly she was a champion of women and she was a mentor to you when she not. Any issued a mentor to me and it's still so many about you don't and I wouldn't try to cover Capitol Hill I wrote Ruble bitchy treatment recovered for more than a decade she. The first person to reach out with anybody. And encouragement and and when I get back to work after having myself who moved there when the first people with warm by an encouragement because don't and we would always always a priority and Cokie was always there for me and so many. Other young women it and then. Pushing around him better product according got out of caution I reported Qiyue do you often combative note and she would fire back a couple question. Trying to make our real reporting better she can't stop questioning and her curiosity. Would simply limitless and get what are they doing each example that's what are all about and Terry thanks to accomplish great actually. In covering all of it you know especially. Capital and those she would be very blunt about the fact that that was hurt by the washing. Of the congress it with in her blood. And she's she's a graduate with all of us how the uniquely because difficult. It is terribly role appears please try to act screeching into Washington and that informed her reporting. Deeply and she had this. Intense sense of good and beauty she was raised with it it. And she thought Gilbert wouldn't eat it there in controlling both tough question through educating. Boaters do Burberry no nonsense. A style and accountable and bad and the legacy that should be. I would yeah and and an alleged negotiation include slow include well daddy. At ABC and throughout recording room. And merry. Real quickly tell us what you'll miss most about Cokie Roberts. Alcohol on. A quick note GPL has encouraged debate that would she might always you know reaching out and it channel. Oh what about it why would you vote you have got to usually don't want to look snappy Cushman and she she got improper source home. She never stopped covering congress alum she's current all of us. Could be better but ultimately it's really about. How to juggle it all how to divide the Guangxi connect. Her husband had advantage Bloomberg I think we all but keep cheer and remember that they had sitting next to it that they can perhaps question would owe each count completely. How got booed at home do it. And she looked out for all. And is something that I think. They don't you ABC McConnell who would rather. Certainly true I think sure Richard never spoken in thank you for that Mary. That we have lost in national treasure on this day in our hearts and our prayers and our thoughts go out the family. Of Cokie Roberts we're with you and we are here to remember her incredible legacy for gonna return now. To our regular programming and in some parts of the country that is Good Morning America and of course there will be a complete wrap up tonight. On world news tonight with David Bjork and you can get the latest anytime at abcnews.com. I'm Amy robots here in New York have a good day. This story issue will town will be special and different because of who you are. Mean you can look at the world around you and learn from it every day. There's anything there really really. And yeah. I'm I'm I'm.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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