Harry Rosenthal, who covered space shots and presidents back to Truman, dies at 86

Harry F. Rosenthal, an Associated Press writer who covered America's golden age of space exploration, presidents back to Harry Truman and whatever caught his impish eye in the stuffy halls of power, has died. He was 86.

He died Thursday at home in Kansas City, Mo., says his daughter, Lesli Mulligan.

Rosenthal strolled with Truman in Missouri as the retired president reflected on his decision to drop the atomic bomb. He covered Richard Nixon in his downfall and presidents through to Bill Clinton before retiring in 1997.

Rosenthal was known as a wordsmith who sweated the details and turned them into irresistible prose.

"Writing bugs me," he said, "but it's the only way I like to make a living."