Political Scene

JOURNALISM

Post columnist Broder dies at 81

David Broder, the Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post political columnist whose even-handed treatment of Democrats and Republicans set him apart from the ideological warriors on the nation’s Op-Ed pages, died Wednesday. He was 81.

Post officials said Mr. Broder died of complications from diabetes.

Mr. Broder, an Illinois native, was familiar to television viewers as a frequent panelist on NBC’s “Meet the Press” Program. He appeared on the program more than 400 times, far more than any other journalist in the show’s history.

To newspaper readers, he was one of the nation’s most prominent syndicated columnists. A September 2007 study by the liberal media watchdog group Media Matters found that Mr. Broder was second among columnists only to George Will in the combined circulation of newspapers in which his column appeared.

He was the only one of the top five that the group did not label as either conservative or liberal.

“His even-handed approach has never wavered. He’d make a good umpire,” wrote Alan Shear, editorial director of the Washington Post Writers Group, which syndicated Mr. Broder’s column. “Dave is neither left nor right, and can’t even be called reliably centrist. He reports exhaustively and his conclusions are grounded in hard facts.”

FLORIDA

State stands firm on early primary

TALLAHASSEE | In a virtual replay of 2008, Florida is bucking the national Democratic and Republican parties in planning an early presidential primary, an act of defiance that creates strategic challenges for GOP candidates and could unravel the primary calendar next year.

The added wrinkle this time: The 2012 Republican National Convention is in Tampa, Fla. If national Republican leaders make good on their threat to penalize states that don’t follow the rules, Florida’s own delegates could be stopped at the door when the GOP gathers to pick its presidential ticket.

With the Republican-controlled Florida Legislature showing no signs of giving in, other states that want to have a large say early in the nominating process - including Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina - are jockeying to stay out in front.

Political observers say the outcome of standoffs such as in Florida will help determine whether the political parties can bring order to the primary calendar or whether it becomes a free-for-all.

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