CBS News today mourns the death of Dotty Lynch. She died yesterday afternoon in Washington after a year-long battle with cancer; a battle she bore with dignity, grit and grace, which is no surprise since this is how she also lived her life. Dotty was a rare combination of book smart, street smart, and incredibly funny.
Dotty was the Senior Political Editor for CBS News from 1985 through 2005. She led us through some remarkable times and elections. I like to think that Dotty was digital before digital was cool – she re-created and formatted The CBS News Campaign Directory in 1992. Those of you who had one will never forget it. It was a pocket sized book that had every phone number of every official any political reporter or producer could want. It was the envy of the road, many reported outright theft by competitors or being begged for a copy.
She also had an eye for talent – that rare ability to see not just what a person could offer today, but also to see what they could become. Here are a few examples of the researchers Dotty hired: FACE THE NATION Executive Producer Mary Hager and FACE THE NATION Senior Producer Rob Hendin, both were also CBS EVENING NEWS White House producers; Steve Chaggaris, who ran political coverage in 2008 and now edits CBSNews.com in Washington and Kia Baskerville, who is a special events producer and talent scout.
In 1984 Dotty Lynch became a first. She was the first woman to be the chief pollster for a presidential campaign – hired by Democrat Gary Hart. It may have surprised you, but Hart’s finish in New Hampshire that year was no surprise to Dotty. She earned her chops working with Patrick Caddell in the campaigns of George McGovern and Jimmy Carter.
Though she left the political unit after 2005 Dotty never left CBS News. She was a contributor to CBS Radio News and CBS News.com and served as a consultant on elections right up until 2012. She will always be a part of our tradition.