Remembering Richard Ben Cramer

Perhaps no one mastered the “old form” better than Richard Ben Cramer, who died on Monday, Jan. 7, in Baltimore, of complications from lung cancer. He was 62.

In 1992, Cramer delivered what may well be the best book ever on American politics: What it Takes: The Way to the White House. Like no one before him, Cramer spent months delving into the lives of the ’88 presidential candidates (except Jesse Jackson, who wouldn’t cooperate), answering fundamental questions about the motivation and the mettle of people who thought they could be president of the United States.

Joyce Aboussie, Gephardt’s top aide in those years, recalls Cramer as “smart, insightful and fun. Richard had a way of making folks feel like they knew him their whole life. A real pro and a decent guy who will be missed.”

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