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Donaldson to reduce duties

ABC anchor cutting White House day-to-day coverage

WASHINGTON — ABC News’ Sam Donaldson is cutting back his duties at the White House, where the correspondent has commandeered presidential attention at photo ops and press conferences with his booming voice and pointed questions.

Donaldson will remain the network’s chief White House correspondent but will leave the day-to-day coverage to another reporter, ABC spokeswoman Eileen Murphy said. “It is out of respect to him and his position that he will keep that title,” Murphy added.

No replacement yet

The network has not settled on Donaldson’s replacement, who will be worked into the schedule over the next month.

Meantime, the newsman is holding talks with ABC execs about his role in various shows at the network. Donaldson, 65, will continue to anchor the Sunday morning “This Week” and will continue to report for “20/20” and “World News Tonight,” Murphy said.

Donaldson first landed at the White House in 1977 and remained there through the Reagan and Bush years. He returned to the White House as the network’s chief correspondent in 1998, just in time to cover the exploding sex scandal involving President Clinton and former White House intern Monica Lewinsky.

His exaggerated manner, swirling hairstyle and hawklike features have provided fodder for comedians and critics of the White House press corps over the years.