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Kate O’Beirne, Editor for National Review, Has Died at 68

Kate O’Beirne, the Washington Editor for National Review who also served in leadership positions at the Heritage Foundation and Reagan Administration, has lost her battle with cancer.

She was 68 years old.

National Review’s editors shared the tragic news:

Kate O’Beirne was part of National Review’s world before she joined the staff. When she became the magazine’s Washington editor in 1995 her resume already included stints at Senator Jim Buckley’s office, the Reagan administration, and the Heritage Foundation. She served NR in that position for eleven years and then became president of National Review Institute for six more.

She brought a witty and well-informed conservatism to a national television audience as well through weekly appearances on CNN’s marquee political talk show “Capital Gang.” Conservatives were outnumbered there as on cable news generally at that time, but it never seemed that way as long as she was on.

Both her “Bread and Circuses” column for NR and her television commentary were marked by a rare combination of a deep interest in conservative policy, psychological insight, and common sense. Many of those same qualities put her advice — on politics, editorials, careers, and personal matters — in high demand.

It was advice she was happy to give, setting her listeners right while somehow also making them feel like geniuses. She enlivened every party, taking special care for the people who seemed shy or left out. This same impulse led her to take in young colleagues, or classmates of her children, who had nowhere to go for holidays.

The late Robert Novak was impressed by her intellect, as he described in his autobiography, The Prince of Darkness:

Tall, blond, New Yorker-feisty, and exceptionally well-informed… Kate auditioned for the Gang for the first time on June 24, and she was dynamite. My decision was quickly made. Kate O’Beirne was a tremendous asset to the program, informed and able to charm the socks off [liberal panelist Al] Hunt. I think Boston Irish [Mark] Shields was less susceptible to the charms of an Irish lass from New York, and Kate always felt Mark resented a strong conservative woman. But Kate radically improved the program.

In her final days she continued to pray the rosary while surrounded by her husband Jim, her sons Phil and John, her sisters Mary Ann, Virginia, and Rosemary, and many friends. Her great regret was that she would not be able to spend more time doting on her grandchildren.

Let us pray for O’Beirne’s family during this difficult time. Rest in peace.

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