Cokie Roberts' 'Roast' Becomes a Love-In
Byline: Gabriella Boston, THE WASHINGTON TIMES
Politicians and media colleagues utterly failed in their assignment to roast the revered Cokie Roberts at the American News Women's Club's annual dinner.
"It's intimidating," former Rep. Constance A. Morella said. "How does one roast Mother Teresa?"
Consequently, roasting took a back seat to toasting at last Wednesday's dinner at Georgetown's Four Seasons Hotel, where Mrs. Roberts received the 2003 ANWC Helen Thomas Award for Excellence in Journalism.
"I'm honored to have an award named after Helen Thomas," Mrs. Roberts said during her brief acceptance speech. "I've gotten a lot of awards in the name of dead white men."
ABC News weekend anchor Carole Simpson, who emceed the event in a tiara and changed outfits several times during the evening, let her garb tell the story of the 59-year old guest of honor's many qualities as a mother and pioneer for women in journalism.
"I don't want to just talk about her exterior beauty," Mrs. Simpson told 400 applauding dinner guests. "Not only does she have a beautiful exterior, she has a beautiful interior ... a beautiful soul."
Mrs. Roberts was recently diagnosed and treated for breast cancer but looked unfazed by her ordeal. She is continuing with her assignments on ABC and National Public Radio.
"I feel fine," Mrs. Roberts said. "And I have no intention of retiring."
Mrs. Morella spoke of the honoree's great knowledge of politics, which started when Mrs. Roberts, the daughter of former Reps. Hale and Lindy Boggs, was a young child and already had "floor privileges" in Congress.
"She even remembers when Alan Simpson had hair and Joe Biden didn't," Mrs. Morella said to roaring laughter.
Rep. Barney Frank highlighted Mrs. Roberts' great integrity and high principles in a city where situational ethics often are applied.
"She has been the example of principles ... without an ounce of self-righteousness," Mr. Frank said. "Of all the people of high integrity that I have met, she is the least pain ...."
Several female colleagues lauded her for paving the way for other women and for always being a team player.
"It's fitting that Carole talked about Cokie's support of women because that's the thing Cokie is best known for," said Linda Douglass, also of ABC News. …