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Paul Duke

July 19, 2005 at 12:00 AM EDT


GWEN IFILL: We here at PBS were also saddened to learn today of the passing of our friend and colleague, Paul Duke.

SPOKESMAN: Washington Week in Review. Here’s moderator Paul Duke.

PAUL DUKE: Good evening. There have been more significant developments this week in the Watergate case…

GWEN IFILL: For 20 years, veteran journalist Paul Duke spent every Friday night at the helm of Washington Week in Review. Embracing journalism while still in his teens, Paul’s career took him from the Associated Press to the Wall Street Journal to NBC News to PBS. His beat was the nation’s capital; his love was politics.

PAUL DUKE: I’m Paul Duke with congressional reporter Linda Wertheimer and political editor Norman Ornstein.

GWEN IFILL: In the early 1980s, he anchored a weekly program on Congress. And in 40 years as a Washington reporter, he covered nearly every major story, including the impeachment hearings of Richard Nixon in 1974, and interviewed nearly every major political figure.

He also devoted himself to documentaries, one on Truman’s victory over Dewey in 1948:

PAUL DUKE: Everybody said it was no contest, that it would take a miracle for Truman to win.

GWEN IFILL: Another on the Kennedy-Nixon campaign of 1960:

PAUL DUKE: It was just a wonderful campaign to cover.

GWEN IFILL: And on the inside workings of the Supreme Court. Paul prized civility, straight-ahead news reporting, and the viewers who joined him every Friday night.

After retiring in 1994, he came back for a second tour of duty five years later, before handing the reins over to me.

PAUL DUKE: Washington Week fans are the greatest in the world, which is why we’ve kept going for lo these three decades. No one made the case better than a woman from Fresno, California, who wrote in some years ago to say, “Thank goodness there’s something that works in the Capitol without people yelling at one another.”

And I can assure you that’s the way it’ll stay under the new management. That’s it for this edition. I’m Paul Duke, and good night for all of us here on Washington Week.

GWEN IFILL: Paul Duke died of leukemia at his home last night. He was 78 years old.