By: E&P Staff
Godfrey Sperling Jr. retired this week after nearly 35 years as a columnist at The Christian Science Monitor, where he worked for almost six decades. “Budge” was also known for founding the “Monitor Breakfast” in Washington, where newsmakers were questioned by the print media.
In his final column, Sperling recalled highlights of his career. They included meeting his World War II hero Dwight Eisenhower, interviewing Harry Truman (shortly after he left the presidency) about why he authorized the dropping of an atomic bomb, and interviewing Barry Goldwater about President Nixon near the end of the Watergate scandal. (Goldwater told Sperling that he and Republican leaders wanted Nixon to step down, which helped lead to the president’s resignation.)
Sperling also remembered he and James Reston of The New York Times doing the first interview of Ronald Reagan’s presidency, and getting invited by President Clinton to celebrate his own 80th birthday in the White House in 1995.
The Monitor ran a number of tributes to Sperling. One of them was from columnist David Broder, of The Washington Post and Washington Post Writers Group, who described Sperling as “a man whose personal qualities — modesty, absolute integrity, and collegiality — are matched by his professional acumen.”
Sperling praised the Monitor in his final column, and wrote: “As I say goodbye and thank you to readers who have stuck with me over the many years, my abiding hope is that they will remember me as a fair observer.”