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(Reuters) – E.L. Doctorow, the author of popular novels grounded in American history including Ragtime and Billy Bathgate, has died at age 84, his publisher said on Tuesday.

A spokeswoman for the Random House Publishing Group gave no further details but the New York Times, citing the writer’s son Richard, said Doctorow died in New York on Tuesday of complications from lung cancer.

“E.L. Doctorow was one of America’s greatest novelists. His books taught me much, and he will be missed,” President Barack Obama said in a tweet on Tuesday afternoon.

“Through books of great beauty and power, and characters I’ll never forget, he showed us America’s great flaws and its astonishing promise, and our own,” Kate Medina, Doctorow’s editor at Random House, said in a written statement.

“Edgar was fun, even as he was holding all of us to the high standards he set for himself. To be with him was to be at one’s best; to read him was to discover, again and again, the joy of reading a master,” Medina said.

According to the publishing house, Doctorow was born in New York in 1931 and named after American writer Edgar Allen Poe.

During his long career he was awarded the National Book Award, the National Book Critics Circle Awards, and two PEN Faulkner Awards, among other honors.

(Reporting by Peter Cooney in Washington and Dan Whitcomb in Los Angeles; Editing by Eric Beech and Edmund Klamann)

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Jeff Danziger lives in New York City. He is represented by CWS Syndicate and the Washington Post Writers Group. He is the recipient of the Herblock Prize and the Thomas Nast (Landau) Prize. He served in the US Army in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Air Medal. He has published eleven books of cartoons, a novel and a memoir. Visit him at DanzigerCartoons.

Viktor Orban

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Nobody should still pretend to be shocked that the Conservative Political Action Conference, an entity no longer "conservative" in any meaningful sense, would feature an appearance by an authoritarian leader like Viktor Orban. The Hungarian autocrat is the idol of the international far Right. He has repeatedly enjoyed the bootlicking attentions of Tucker Carlson on Fox News and indeed, CPAC chairman Matt Schlapp led his gang to celebrate Orban in Budapest earlier this year.

What makes Orban so alluring to the American far rightists is his example as an illiberal politician who, unlike their idol former President Donald Trump, has managed to corrupt Hungarian democracy so thoroughly as to guarantee his own continuing rule.

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