Remembering Cokie Roberts

Former "This Week" co-anchor Sam Donaldson reacts to the death of Cokie Roberts, who passed away Tuesday morning following complications with breast cancer.
11:33 | 09/17/19

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Transcript for Remembering Cokie Roberts
Welcome to the debrief from ABC news live on Aaron contreras he ABC news headquarters in New York where we are remembering our dear colleague Cokie Roberts. Who died this morning in Washington due to complications from breast cancer. Cookie was 75 years old and was she ever a fixture of political journalism in this country for decades. And she came to an honestly the child of two congressman hale and Lindy Boggs who collectively. Represented the people of New Orleans for almost fifty years she grew up in the halls of congress. And made it her mission to educate all of us about how our government works how it's supposed to work and how to hold politicians of all stripes accountable. My colleague ABC's Karen Travers. With a look back now on the life of Cokie Roberts. Cokie Roberts was a fixture of Washington known for her sharp reporting and analysis. Quick wit. Grace and kindness notably her support of women in journalism. Oh warmer and a mentor Cokie encouraged women to push for a seat at the political roundtable. The daughter of longtime US represented is hale Boggs and windy dogs cook grew up with a front row seat to American political history. Her full name is Mary Martha Korean Morrison Claiborn Roberts thank you for having me and commie country she considered joining the family business but found her calling as a journalist it was essentially reporting and writing very brief little stories and I loved it. She spent ten years at NPR before finding her long time home here at ABC news. First as a contributor on this week what is your definition. Right now when they see it sat there and later co anchor Sam Donaldson from 1996. To 2002. Next week. He was a key part of ABC news's political coverage for decades interviewing presidents politicians and first ladies. Several New York Times best sellers detailing untold and remarkable contributions of women in American history she received countless awards and more than thirty honorary degrees. But the most important to coax her Catholic faith her beloved new violence and her family. Married to her husband Steve also a journalist for 53 years Cokie was the mother of two and grandmother of six in 2002 come battled breast cancer and spoke candidly about being on television while wearing away. I felt. First going on the air and a wig that I liked really goofy. It was that Ernest. ABC news. And by viewers across the nation. ABC's Karen Travers joins us live now from Washington where we are all remembering Cokie Roberts carried you in turn. Her Coke in a new. I did I walked into this building nineteen and a half years ago and with an intern for Cokie when she and Sam Donaldson or the anchors of this week. And I haven't black nineteen years later I think the thing that Cokie with the when it holds me in but she made it such a special place and she made you wanna work hard for her but. It was at the non politics non work stuff that I think we'll stick out in so many people here at ABC's memories about Cokie. When you talk to her and she's at hello to you she didn't ask about your job she didn't ask about the latest drama and politics it was always. How's your family how are the kids how are things when he doing anything new in your life she truly cared this wasn't just lip service from Cokie. She is generally insisted in what we were. How did talk about. Aaron you're gonna hear so much about. Her incredible career the book she roads all of the presidents and political leaders that she interviewed but. There's so many great stories about coty behind the scenes that I hope that we can all share over the coming days. One of my favorites is when are twins were in the hospital for three months in 2015. So I was out of work for some time. Is there any heat of the primary season heading into the 2016 election. And code usually busy but she checked in on me. Every week she brought food that she herself to our house dropped it off on the boards I thought the text message from her dissent pay Travers it's Cokie the food on your boards she of course left three bottles of wine to go along with a home in Louisiana foods that she made for us but. That's what she did you know she cared about people and she was genuine. And and the best part of that story is that there is a good will dock or friends can sign up to give food to our family while the kids are in the hospital. And Cokie it's kind of on the Google doc and our friends are asking about Cokie Robertson the and that is that list as just remember food next week. I hope you can expect a tough from where I have your burning my secrets no Cokie I'm so sorry if they'll have three of your dishes at my house. Aaron that when it when it came to vote to the work though. She was fierce she was tough. And she was. I'm yielding advocate for the integrity of of our profession of journalism. She really was and you know she was sharp but she could jabbing you with big grin and that she still have that soft Louisiana drawl that she didn't lose despite living in Washington for so long and and that aid toned down what were her sharp political. You know it points and end of probing questions that she went ask as she kept everybody on their toes politicians and people in our business. She was also a mentor and a role model especially for the young women here ABC. She showed us how you can do this job how you can Pfeiffer. Part of that conversation literally fight for a seat at the political roundtable every week. Be a good person didn't have to change who you were you didn't have to be tough guy. To get your questions and third or get your story out there she did it with grace and she did it with kindness. ABC's Karen Travers put us from Washington on the passing of Cokie Roberts she died this morning in Washington. At the age of 75 due to complications from breast cancer from 1996 to 2002 Cokie co hosted ABC's this week every Sunday. With Sam Donaldson who joins us now Sam it's really good to hear from you under these terrible circumstances but I can only imagine how many stories. You've kept about Cokie over the years. I'm that is but Pitney Miller well. Really until she came previously. Mentioned join did David Brinkley program and of that 1988. I believe. Who we'd been going along George will Sam Donaldson and of course the great David Brinkley finally occurred to assist. The activists Amman missing here a woman. And we were lucky enough to find Cokie and she was with terrific addition. And many people have talked already this morning about her knowledge of politics or knowledge of Washington. Knowledge in how things work here. At least work here in the old days and if she does someone that you always at the turn to but the final word. On what was happening. When she united joined together. After the passing of David Brinkley from this scene in Washington. What a remarkable things. I think it's uninteresting. Often when people repaired. There are some jealousy it's and there are some competition. Maybe that's healthy I don't I. But we didn't have it we didn't have it. Cokie hot. Supported each other and wouldn't. One of us it would do simply well the other would be searched Gary Meehan and blew an opposite him. He didn't do and we usually meet put them disrupting the lives. But company. It was just a wonderful. Relationship. You mean she would call out Sam Donaldson. If he did something wrong. Particularly because I would take it is but that was built back don't believe it's a cute I want to read a couple of them distinct bureau of the time. Aside from the political scene. Coke it was a fierce advocate for women's rights and women's recognition. And and her first book. She challenged the idea that founding fathers throughput which you talk about Jason let's talk about the founding mothers. And opposites who hurts other pockets little all right Dolly Madison yes certainly know what you say tilting their from the British burned hood and Martha Washington. But MarketWatch it was out not out there in valley porridge. With Joseph or freezing to death. Does that make a rebel. She he's shedding mark local pushed it hadn't been there George wouldn't have been achieved throughout her life you support equipment. It and every possible way. And I think. And I'm the mists and particularly. Practice this. Sam we are we're lose and our connection review but it is so good it's always good to hear your voice even under these circumstances as you remember your co anchor from ABC's this week Cokie Roberts. Cokie died this morning due to complications from breast cancer 75 years old and we're thinking of her two kids for six grandchildren. And her husband Steve Roberts the former New York Times journalist current professor at George Washington University. And cookies husband of 53 years they coauthored books together they wrote a weekly column and have been an inspiration to all of us. About how to have a successful and sustainable. Relationship. So we do remember Cokie Roberts we're going to leave you with a bit of Cokie now in her own words. I wrist column. Always a mistake that I can talk about anything I want. And hadn't had and when I am writing something for which like a speech or an article book. I Y I tend not to write about. What I do every day. But I actually. Decided that because. I am in a school of journalism. That I. Would talk about women in journalism these women were taking their places. On what was supposed to be the frothy part of the newspapers. And using them for serious subjects and subjects that the men were not covering so what happened as a result of that. The newspapers got rid of the women's pages simple they started calling them living. Style. Something where. A serious women's issues would not become them that you. Have to. Say as you. Go along and get to this point where you are. In this wonderful institution. We you have such exposure and you're learning so much and you're going out into world where the opportunities are they asked. That you. Have to keep pushing. Because we need you we need you to be there in the journalistic world. ABC's Cokie Roberts speaking to journalism graduates of the University of Southern California back in September of 2015. We are thinking of Cokie and her family. On the occasion of her death at age 75 due to complications. From breast cancer.

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

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