Washington's Huge Loss

New York Times Washington Bureau reporter David E. Rosenbaum is seen in this 2001 file photo. Rosenbaum, 63, died Sunday, Jan. 8, from injuries suffered in a street robbery while walking near his home in Washington two nights earlier, police said.
Weekly commentary by CBS Evening News anchor and Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer.

Washington lost a fine man last week, David Rosenbaum, who had just retired after a long career covering the capital for the New York Times.

We were friends and I last saw him during the summer when we tried to top each other with stories about our grandkids.

But mostly I knew him through years of chasing the same officials down some capitol corridor. You learn a lot about reporters when you're covering the same story. You learn which ones really work, which ones cut corners and which ones are not above the occasional cheap shot.

What David had was that curiosity that marks all good reporters--he was basically just an honest man who had respect for the news and the people he covered and most of all he just wanted to find out what happened, and what it meant, and he was determined to get it right.

In one of those random acts for which there never seems an explanation save that life is unfair, David was on an after-dinner stroll in his neighborhood when he was beaten to death by two men who apparently wanted nothing more than his credit cards.

It shocked Washington, and 700 people came to his Capitol memorial service. The confirmation hearings for Supreme court nominee Samuel Alito were adjourned so Senators could attend.

It was a remarkable tribute, but to me it was his daughter who paid him an even higher honor when she said, "he taught me to always do the right thing, even when it didn't seem to matter.

To David it always mattered, and that is why his life mattered so much. He was 63.

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