Biden Reflects on Fight Against Cynicism and the Memory of NYT’s First Female National Political Correspondent, Robin Toner

Joe Biden (Getty Images)
Joe Biden (Getty Images)

Vice President Joe Biden reflected on his career in politics and what he sees as the fight against cynicism as the keynote speaker at an award ceremony for political reporting in Washington Monday.

The Toner Prize celebration dinner is held in honor of the late Robin Toner, the first woman to be named national political correspondent for The New York Times, who died in 2008.

“When talking to Robin, I always knew it wasn’t a cynical exercise for her. It wasn’t score-keeping. She knew the outcome of the election affected real people’s lives and that’s why she held us accountable,” Biden said of Toner, who covered five presidential elections and many other federal races during her reporting career.

Toner and Biden both attended Syracuse University, the sponsor of the award, and Biden reflected on a woman who he says battled cynicism in politics and made him look at himself critically while covering his first run for the White House.

“I’ve been doing this job for a long time, and from some of you, we learn a lot about ourselves when we are candidates or hold public office,” Biden said to an audience that included many political journalists.

Biden said Toner had a way of making him more introspective and self-critical as he read her reporting on him and other candidates and public officials.

Also honored at the event was the winner of the 2013 Toner Prize for Excellence in Political Reporting, Karen Tumulty of The Washington Post.

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