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December 13th, 2010
09:39 PM ET

Evening Buzz: Death of a Diplomat

Richard Holbrooke, noted diplomat, is dead at 69.

Richard Holbrooke, noted diplomat, is dead at 69.

Maureen Miller
AC360° Writer

We have breaking news tonight on the death of Richard Holbrooke. The 69-year-old diplomat died at a Washington hospital after surgery to repair a tear in his aorta.

Holbrooke once was described as the "hydrogen bomb" of diplomacy.

He was best known for being "the chief architect of the 1995 Dayton Peace Agreement" that ended the Bosnian war - the deadly ethnic conflict in the 1990s during the breakup of Yugoslavia.

Holbrooke served administrations from Lyndon Johnson to Barack Obama. Most recently he had been working on perhaps his toughest assignment - helping tackle the problems in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Tonight on 360°, we’ll look back on his diplomatic career with Senior Political Analyst David Gergen, who worked with Holbrooke in the Clinton White House.

We’re also tracking the war of words in Washington over tax cuts, where there are a lot of accusations of doubletalk and betrayal.

The Senate voted today 83-15 to move the deal Pres. Obama made last week with Republicans to a final vote perhaps tomorrow.

The measure would extend Bush-era tax cuts for another two years, fund unemployment benefits for another 13 months and lower the payroll tax for one year in hopes of boosting the economy. Also under the deal, the estate tax would return at a lower top rate of 35% with a $5 million exemption - instead of a top rate of 55% with a $1 million exemption.

The package would add $893 billion to the federal deficit over five years, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

"I recognize that folks on both sides of the political spectrum are unhappy with certain parts of the package, and I understand those concerns, I share some of them, but that's the nature of compromise," said Pres. Obama at the White House.

Interestingly, he never used the words "Bush-era tax cuts" in his statement today to reporters. But, for months he was against extending them. Then he made the deal with Republicans.

As for the GOP, Sen. John McCain has also changed his tune on tax cuts. We'll dig into all of this tonight on the program.

And, we're throwing a penalty flag on the bad sportsmanship at yesterday's Jets-Dolphins football game. A coach is getting added to our 'Ridiculist' for his ugly conduct on the field.

Join us for these stories and much more at 10 p.m. ET on CNN. See you then.


Filed under: Maureen Miller • The Buzz
soundoff (15 Responses)
  1. Lori

    It's quite simple, he was just one of those guys that let you sleep better at night knowing that he was on the job.

    December 14, 2010 at 11:07 am |
  2. LotayR

    That is a sad news. I clearly remember Mr.Holbrooke from his visit to my country, Bhutan and it feels like yesterday. My deepest condolences to his family members and loved ones.

    December 14, 2010 at 10:00 am |
  3. Carol W

    Very sad to lose such a fine mam during the Holiday season when things should be more cheerful. Blessings to your family.

    December 13, 2010 at 11:44 pm |
  4. Mary

    My mother died at 53 from an aoratic tear. They have found my brother has an aneursym of the aorta and are watching it carefully. All the women in my Moms family died of brain aneursyms at the age of 49. So sorry of hear of Mr Holbrooks death.

    December 13, 2010 at 11:16 pm |
  5. Dr. Di Luozzo (Mount Sinai NY)

    Will,
    I follow and treat many patients like yourself who had an aortic dissection. It sounds like you may have had a Type B aortic dissection which can be treated successfully with medicines alone. You should have your blood pressure tightly controlled and careful monitoring of your aortic dissections with CT or MRI every 6 to 12 months.

    Best,
    Dr. D

    December 13, 2010 at 10:56 pm |
  6. Terri Bauer

    My Dad died of the same thing in 1990. The surgery was a success, but the patient died. It was 3 days before his other organs failed and he passed. Even if a patient lives through the surgery, lack of blood to the brain would most likely leave the patient in a vegetative state.
    My friend's husband recently had physical at the VA hospital in Boise,ID. He was diagnosed with this aortic issue (before the tear happens)and was flown for surgery to Seattle, he was one of the lucky ones.

    December 13, 2010 at 10:50 pm |
  7. Will Howard

    Maybe Mr. Holbrookes deathe will bring attention to aortic tears. Think of all the people who may of died from this and Dr's didn't know. It's maybe more then 2,000 deaths a year from this aortic dissections.

    December 13, 2010 at 10:46 pm |
  8. Will Howard

    On July 11th I had a aortic tear. My Dr. did not want to do surgery because he thought I would die being flown to Texas or at the hospital I was at. I am a 39 y/o male. I had high BP and didn't know until that night. They got my BP down when I was in the CCU. It still fluchuates but I can't let it get over 150 on top. Is there people who had this and did't
    have surgery who are alive or groups for people like us? Please Anderson and Dr Sancha let me know.

    December 13, 2010 at 10:35 pm |
  9. manzoor

    Every person, directly or indirectly, teaches us some or the other very important lesson in life. You can serve your nation without having a greed for the high rank.
    Mr.Holbrook served this nation as a true , patriot.
    May God bless his soul and complete all his wishes.
    Our thoughts and prayers are with his family , and we are sharing the burden of this great grief. May God bless him.

    May God bless Holbrooks soul.

    With love and sympathy,

    Manzoor NC

    December 13, 2010 at 10:26 pm |
  10. Eliza Saunders

    Some years ago, I had the good fortune to sit across the table from Ambassador Holbrooke at a dinner party. He was so delightful. Not only charming and kind, which one might expect, but he was genuinely interested in what I had to say. At the time, I worked for a religious institution, and immediately he jumped into a very intense and fascinating conversation about faith, the Church today, and various theologians. It was a wonderful give-and-take conversation, and I loved it. When I heard that he was in critical condition, I lamented, because I felt like it was a friend who was ill. Certainly, he was a deep and wonderful representative of our country, and his death is a real loss to our country.

    December 13, 2010 at 10:25 pm |
  11. Susan Davis in Bandon, Oregon

    Mr. Holbrooke was an American patriot. He is a good example of what patriotism is all about. Too many so-called patriots are only self serving. One does not become a patriot until one passes on and is evaluated for what he or she has done for our country. We need more Holbrookes in this country. Peace to Mr. Holbrook's family.

    December 13, 2010 at 10:22 pm |
  12. Eliza Saunders

    I had the good fortune to sit across the table from Ambassador Holbrooke some years ago at a dinner party. He was the nicest guy! Of course, I knew who he was, but I felt like he was a warm and natural friend. So down to earth. At the time, I worked for a religious institution, and immediately Mr. Holbrooke wanted to talk religion. He went right for it. I loved his interest and his engagement. He was so warm and so kind and so very with it. I still remember that evening with warmth and fondness. If he lent that intensity,intelligence, passion and charm to international relations – and, apparently, he did – we had a real star on our side. I am very sad about his death.

    December 13, 2010 at 10:19 pm |
  13. Dr. Di Luozzo (Mount Sinai NY)

    The death of Mr. Holbrooke is tragic and most painful for the family. His death reminds us how lethal aortic dissection is and how little we know about who will become a victim of such a aggressive disease. At Mount Sinai, we treat hundreds of these patients a year and understand the aggressive nature of this disease –we must do more to understand this disease through research.
    My prays are with the family of Mr. Holbrooke.

    Dr. Di Luozzo
    Director, Aortic Surgery Program

    December 13, 2010 at 10:03 pm |
  14. Annie Kate

    Holbrooke will be missed; his contribution to our country while not as well known as some were critical in nature and helped more than just the US. My condolences to his friends and family.

    December 13, 2010 at 9:56 pm |
  15. Dean

    Holbrooke will be missed. He was the heart and soul of the Dayton Peace Accords.

    December 13, 2010 at 9:54 pm |