William Safire Dies at 79

William Safire, a speechwriter for President Richard M. Nixon and a Pulitzer Prize-winning political columnist for The New York Times who also wrote novels, books on politics and a Malaprop’s treasury of articles on language, died at a hospice in Rockville, Md., on Sunday. He was 79.

He won the Pulitzer Prize for commentary, a rarity for a conservative in a medium dominated by liberals. It used to bug some of us that he had the telephone number of former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon at his farm. Bill would sometimes call Sharon there and get an exclusive.

Bill Safire was a gentleman. It is a cliche to say someone will be missed. But journalism will miss Bill Safire. It is a loss the profession will not be able to replace.