Hal Bruno, who oversaw ABC News’ election coverage during most of the 1980s and ’90s as the network’s political director while frequently offering political analysis for the net on radio and television, died in Bethesda, Md., on Tuesday from heart arrhythmia in the wake of a fall at his home. He was 83.
“The number of county party chairman he knew across the country was mind-blowing,” ABC News Washington bureau chief Robin Sproul told ABCNews.com. “On election night he could call any one of them. They all knew him and they were all trying to get information to him and from him.”
Bruno began working at ABC News in 1978. His efforts for the network included “Hal Bruno’s Washington,” a weekly interview show for ABC Radio.
Bruno was the moderator of the quarrelsome 1992 vice presidential debate between Al Gore and Dan Quayle that is now best remembered for some odd comments made by Adm. James B. Stockdale, Ross Perot’s running mate.
“We were the eyes and ears for Peter (Jennings) and ‘World News Tonight’ and (Ted) Koppel,” NPR political editor Ken Rudin, who was Bruno’s deputy, told the New York Times. “If we had something to say, they knew it was based in solid reporting. What Hal said was widely trusted.”
Before his 19-year stint at ABC News, Bruno worked for 18 years at Newsweek, for which he covered his presidential election in 1960. His various posts at the newsmagazine included foreign correspondent and news editor in addition to chief political correspondent.
Born in Chicago, Harold Robinson Bruno Jr. graduated from the U. of Illinois, worked on the school paper and began in journalism as a newspaper reporter in the Chicago area. During the Korean War he served as in Army intelligence, and he was a Fulbright Scholar.
Bruno is survived by his wife, Margaret; two sons; a sister; and four grandchildren.