The jovial longtime political columnist, a familiar presence on TV newscasts, died this morning at his home in West Virginia at age 85. Jack Germond “was one of the great happy warriors of political reporting,” NBC’s Chuck Todd said in a tweet. In his 50-year career chronicling presidential campaigns and political life, Germond frequently appeared on TV shows including Meet The Press and The McLaughlin Group, and played himself in the 1996 film Independence Day. Saturday Night Live’s Chris Farley parodied Germond in a send up of The McLaughlin Group. Germond ultimately tired of the combative format, and his disagreements with John McLaughlin, resigning in 1996 with a fax that cited the host’s sign-off line: “bye-bye.” Germond retired in 2000, disenchanted with what he perceived as the diminishing quality of candidates and political journalism. That was reflected in two books Germond wrote with his longtime colleague, Jules Witcover: Wake Us When It’s Over about the 1984 presidential campaign and Mad As Hell: Revolt At The Ballot Box, 1992. Germond wrote two memoirs: Fat Man In A Middle Seat (1999) and Fat Man Fed Up (2004).