Germond and Witcover also chronicled the dumbing down of presidential campaigns and the growing cynicism of the electorate in a series of books with such titles as "Wake Us When It's Over" and "Mad as Hell."
Germond wrote two memoirs, "Fat Man in a Middle Seat" (1999) and "Fat Man Fed Up" (2004). He retired from writing columns after the 2000 presidential election, disgusted with politics.
"I really found this campaign odious. I just couldn't get up for it," Germond told The Washington Post. "The quality of the candidates and the campaign, I just found the whole thing second-rate. I didn't know how to explain to my granddaughter that I was spending my dotage writing about Al Gore and George W. Bush."
In "Fat Man Fed Up," he wrote that "after 50 years of exposure to thousands of politicians, I am convinced that we get about what we deserve at all levels of government, up to and including the White House."
Germond got his start covering national politics in 1961 for Gannett, where he had worked for several years. His first presidential campaign was the 1964 race between President Lyndon Johnson and Republican Sen. Barry Goldwater. He left Gannett in 1974 to join the Star, first as political editor and later as assistant managing editor.
He and others in his generation typically generated leads during after-hours, off-the-record chats over drinks - sometimes with the candidates themselves. As campaigns became more scripted, the candidates more insulated and paranoid about gaffes, Germond bemoaned the lost opportunities to see beyond their public personas.
He was baffled by the younger generation of political reporters and their more subdued style.
"Journalism was a great way to make a living. It was fun," Germond told People magazine in 2001. "Nowadays, reporters drink white wine and eat salads. They go to their rooms, transcribe their notes and go to the gym. We never did that."
Germond was born in 1928, in Newton, Mass. His father was an engineer who worked in the housing business, and the family moved frequently.
"I went through 11 different schools in 12 years of public school," Germond said on NBC's "Meet the Press" in 2005. "It made me very detached. It hardens you up a little bit."
He served in the Army from 1946-47, then earned journalism and history degrees from the University of Missouri in 1951. He also dabbled in semipro baseball. He worked for small newspapers in Missouri and Michigan before joining Gannett Co. in 1953.
Germond retired to Charles Town, W.Va., and a house that overlooks the Shenandoah River. A thoroughbred racing enthusiast, he was a regular at Charles Town Races and Slots.
"I come a couple days a week," Germond told National Public Radio in a 2003 interview at the racetrack. "It is a totally cleansing experience."