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WASHINGTON (AP) - Jack Germond, the portly, cantankerous columnist and pundit who covered 10 presidential elections and sparred with colleagues on TV's "The McLaughlin Group," has died. He was 85.

Germond, who wrote about presidents and politicians through decades of covering Washington, was a well-known and nationally recognized figure here and around the country.

With Jules Witcover, he co-wrote five syndicated columns a week for nearly 25 years, most of that time spent at The (Baltimore) Sun. He was in many ways emblematic of his generation of Washington journalists: He was friendly with the politicians he covered, and he cultivated relationships with political insiders during late-night poker games and whiskey-fueled bull sessions.

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