She was the only member of her family not to run for Congress. Former US President Barack Obama led the tributes to the three-time Emmy victor who led ABC's politics coverage for over 30 years. She was a real professional.
Born in New Orleans on 27 December 1943 as Mary Martha Corinne Morrison Claiborne Boggs, Roberts was called Cokie by her brother, Thomas, who had difficulty pronouncing Corinne.
She attended Wellesley College, and met her future husband at a conference for student leaders.
The fourth first lady, says Sajet, embodied a model of dealing with Washington society that Roberts, in a way, cast her own career after. "It wasn't anything I had planned to do". After getting her start in local news and then at CBS, Roberts joined NPR in 1978, when it was still an upstart. She was bitten by the bug. After joining ABC News in 1988, she stayed on as a political commentator part-time for the rest of her life. "She understood people and politics".
"In covering Congress, there's plenty of times when I felt, you know, the mother line: I don't care who started it, I'm stopping it".
In those days it wasn't unusual for a senator to lean in and put a hand on her knee. "But I would like to wish her family well". "It's remarkable how long that went on". Roberts won three Emmys during her time at ABC News. "She asked tough questions and formed solid opinions that made journalists and newsmakers in Washington lean in whenever she shared her thoughts".
But rather than run for office herself, which she anxious would cause difficulties for her husband, journalist Steve Roberts, she chose to cover Capitol Hill as a reporter. "Never treated me well, but I certainly respect her as a professional". She persuaded me to have a child, by proving that you could be an attentive mother, as she was, AND have a big career. We will miss Cokie beyond measure, both for her contributions and for her love and kindness.
Journalist Cokie Roberts appears at the National Press Foundation's 26th annual awards dinner on February 10, 2009 in Washington, DC. She served as NPR's congressional correspondent for more than 10 years.