Sam Donaldson, George Will remember Cokie Roberts on ABC's 'This Week' originally appeared on abcnews.go.com
"She changed us and she changed the business."
In a special tribute to legendary ABC News and NPR journalist Cokie Roberts, former @ThisWeekABC co-anchor Sam Donaldson and @GeorgeWill share their memories and reflect on Roberts' legacy with @MarthaRaddatz https://t.co/TOZmlJywdL pic.twitter.com/9U9WVeo3T1— This Week (@ThisWeekABC) September 22, 2019
"Cokie was from another Washington," Will said. "Washington before tribalism swallowed civility, Washington before constant hysteria."
He added, "It was possible before, and it shall come again, this kind of person who will typify Washington -- not the Washington with a snarl on its face -- but Washington with her incandescent smile."
.@GeorgeWill: "It has been well said that the past is another country, and (Cokie Roberts) was from another Washington — a Washington before tribalism swallowed civility, Washington before constant hysteria was taken as a sign of sophistication" https://t.co/zZR11l91SF pic.twitter.com/dCWmArwM63— This Week (@ThisWeekABC) September 22, 2019
Donaldson mentioned an interview in 1989 between the two of them and Sen. John Tower, R-Texas. Donaldson struggled to define the word "womanizer," after being challenged by Tower. Roberts spoke up during the interview and said, "Well, I think most women know it when they see it, senator."
The moment, Donaldson said, was one of many where, "she used a stiletto, not a hammer, and did it."
"Cokie constantly pushed us to be our better selves."
ABC News' @karentravers, The Washington Post's @ktumulty, NPR's @MaraLiasson and @donnabrazile reflect of the life and legacy of friend, colleague and mentor Cokie Roberts with @MarthaRaddatz https://t.co/zZR11kRr17 pic.twitter.com/zKRbTKmS9b— This Week (@ThisWeekABC) September 22, 2019
The Powerhouse Roundtable, where each panelist was a friend or colleague of Roberts, also shared their memories of the legendary journalist.
"Not only did she pull that ladder down for young women like myself, but she kept it down," said Fox News contributor and former Democratic National Committee chairperson Donna Brazile, who first met Roberts as a 21-year-old Capitol Hill intern. "Cokie constantly pushed us to be our better selves."
ABC News Correspondent Karen Travers, who first worked with Roberts as an intern in college, recalled how Roberts supported her and her family while her newborn twins were in the newborn intensive care unit.
"She was so kind and gracious and looked out for me," Travers said.
NPR Political Correspondent Mara Liasson said that she became an NPR reporter because of Roberts, saying "I got to work under her, learn how to do it. ... She gave me an amazing education."
Roberts, born Mary Martha Corinne Morrison Claiborne Boggs, died Tuesday due to complications from breast cancer. She was 75.
Throughout her decades-long career, Roberts won numerous awards, including three Emmys. She joined ABC News in 1988, and anchored "This Week" with Donaldson from 1996 to 2002. She was named a "Living Legend" by the Library of Congress in 2008. Roberts also wrote eight books focused on the role of women in American history and politics.
ABC News President James Goldston called her a "true pioneer for women in journalism."
On "This Week" Sunday, Donaldson spoke to that influence.
"She helped bring women, as you know, and I've just heard your panelists say that, into full power," he said, referring to the prior roundtable conversation. "Not just full power, but we're now the endangered gender."
Raddatz interrupted, and said, "I think you got nothing to worry about there, Sam. I think Cokie would say that as well."