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Steve and Cokie Roberts


The pictures on the mantelpiece

Sen. Frank Lautenberg died last year at 89 — an unremarkable event, except for one thing. The New Jersey Democrat was the last surviving World War II veteran in the Senate. Only two remaining House members, John Dingell of Michigan and Ralph Hall of Texas, served during that war, and both are leaving Congress at the end of this year.

Making hard choices

Speaker John Boehner talks a good game about pushing immigration reform. He told a recent fundraiser in Las Vegas that he was “hell-bent on getting this done this year,” reports the Wall Street Journal. And back home in Cincinnati, he even mocked his fellow House Republicans for failing to confront the issue.

A lifetime of difference

It’s graduation week at George Washington University, where Steve has taught for the last 23 years. After the final exam in his class, a student quietly handed him a note that read in part: “You have believed in me since the beginning and told me not to sell myself short, and for that I am grateful.”

Make the bully sweat

Secretary of State John Kerry recently urged Russian leader Vladimir Putin to dial down the confrontation in Ukraine. “If Russia continues in this direction,” Kerry warned, “it will not just be a grave mistake, it will be an expensive mistake.”

The fiddler is still on the roof

The New York Times ran this dispatch from the Ukrainian city of Donetsk: “Worshippers at the Bet Menakhem-Mendl synagogue … confronted a horrifying scene as they left a Passover service this week: masked men on a sidewalk handing out leaflets demanding that Jews register and pay a fine or leave the area, witnesses said.”

The election is not quite over

Democrats are reeling. They’re playing defense, not offense. Their loss in a Florida election for a vacant House seat — in a district President Obama carried twice — was a devastating blow. As Robert Gibbs, the president’s former spokesman, admitted on NBC’s “Meet the Press:” “There’s a real, real danger that Democrats could suffer big losses” this fall.

Pragmatists, purists and power

PAWLEYS ISLAND, S.C. — On one side are the pragmatists: Republicans who want to be part of the governing process and accept compromise as the price of participation. On the other are the purists, who prefer playing gadfly to governing and equate compromise with betrayal.

The hand over the lens

The top Super Bowl highlight was not Peyton Manning struggling or Renee Fleming singing or even that adorable puppy nuzzling a horse in the Budweiser commercial. It was Bill O’Reilly grilling Barack Obama.

Why the Media Primary matters

Real-live voters won’t cast ballots in Iowa or New Hampshire for another two years, but another primary campaign is already underway that will have a major impact on the presidential election in 2016. Call it the Media Primary.

Hunger hurts us all

Carly Poe is a 33-year-old single mother in Portland, Ore. Despite a college degree, she struggles to find work and raise a teenage son with serious medical problems. Food stamps — the government program officially known as SNAP — help her survive.

One card, two dads, two kids

It’s just one of countless holiday cards, stacked in a basket on our hall table. Our friends Kevin and Grant are holding their twin sons, Gustav and Alton, while each toddler clutches a brightly colored leaf in his tiny hand.

The rise of liberal self-delusion

The civil war ripping through the Republican Party is familiar by now. But a similar battle inside the Democratic Party is just starting to emerge. Orthodox liberals are trying to mimic the tea party and impose political correctness on moderate apostates.

Giving the gift of stories

As a young woman, Steve’s grandmother, Miriam Wasilsky, left her small village in what is now Lithuania and moved to the city of Bialystok, Poland, looking for work. She found a job in a dry goods store, and to mark her new life, asked a local photographer to take her picture.

Fallout from the nuclear option

J. Harvie Wilkinson III is a federal circuit court judge, appointed in 1984 by Ronald Reagan, but he’s never seen himself as a doctrinaire conservative trying to “storm the barricades.” After Senate Democrats recently invoked the “nuclear option” and voted to ban filibusters for most presidential nominations, he outlined the consequences of that rash and regrettable action in The Washington Post: