John McLaughlin, former priest and provocateur, dies at 89

John McLaughlin, a former Jesuit priest, speechwriter for President Richard M. Nixon and conservative provocateur whose pugnacious style as a host of a political chat show helped usher in the era of impolite punditry, died 16 August at his home in Washington. He was 89.

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McLaughlin grew up in a “rootedly Democratic” Irish-American household in Providence, Rhode Island, but made his mark as a conservative Republican. Read his obituary in The Washington Post.

“I’m Irish,” he told People magazine in 1980, two years before launching his signature television show. “All Irish have some bit of the politician in them.”

In 2009, IrishCentral named McLaughlin to a top 10 list of “Irish talking heads” on television, along with former Nixon administration colleague and “McLaughlin Group” regular Pat Buchanan.