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On Tim Russert


Tim Russert arriving at the MSNBC Republican presidential debate at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, January 24, 2008. (Reuters)

By Dan Balz
On the Sunday night before this year's Iowa caucuses, a crowd had gathered at a school gymnasium just outside Des Moines, awaiting the arrival of former president Bill Clinton. Half an hour before the event was to start, a sandy-haired man with a familiar face and a big smile slipped into the press pen. It was Tim Russert, on the beat.

Within seconds, the former president was an afterthought. Heads turned and suddenly out came digital cameras and cell phone cameras, all trained on the host of "Meet The Press." Ever gracious, Russert posed for photo after photo, bantered with his many fans and admirers and all the while tried to pull out of them some sense of what was going to happen in the caucuses.

In an era of celebrity journalists, Tim Russert was at the pinnacle of both halves of that rarified universe. What set him apart was the sheer exuberance he brought to his profession, the incredible energy he poured into everything he did, the amazing knowledge he had of American politics and the insatiable curiosity he had to know more. He could go nowhere without drawing a crowd; he went, not to play to that crowd, but because he knew they could teach him something that he didn't know.

He was an amazing life force, which is why the news of his death convulsed Washington in grief and disbelief on Friday afternoon. No one deserved a long life more than Tim Russert because there was no way he could ever get enough of it. No one more deserved to see this incredible election year to the finish because he reveled in every twist and turn. His death leaves a huge hole in both the world of journalism and the world of politics -- and much sadness.

I knew him first as a source, if that is the right word, having met him in 1983 when he was working for then New York Gov. Mario Cuomo. Then a young staffer, he was nonetheless deep in the early maneuverings of the 1984 presidential campaign, which both he and Cuomo relished. Later I knew him as a journalistic colleague and as a friend. He had thousands and we all counted ourselves lucky to be among them.

He was legendary even as a Cuomo staffer in his early 30s, having made his reputation earlier working for Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan. It was Russert, the future journalist, who had dug up evidence that one of Moynihan's prospective challengers had falsely claimed service in Vietnam. Every politician with any ambition wanted someone like Russert at his or her side, to the point that the kid from Buffalo became a noun, as in, "Get me a Russert!"

After he left Cuomo and went to work for NBC, one of his dreams was to take the "Today Show" to Rome and the Vatican, and to see the Pope. He was typically diligent as he got ready to fly over to make his presentation and realize that dream, carefully researching everything he could think of to make the best impression possible for his network.

He laughed, shortly after returning, when he recounted what had happened. Though the details of our conversation more than 20 years ago are slightly murky, I recall him describing how, in Rome, he had met his match in the form of a smooth American priest who, it turned out, had done his own research on the Irish-Catholic Russert and his Jesuit education.

"So, Tim," the priest said before Russert could begin his pitch for taking the show to the Vatican and an NBC an interview with the Pope, "I see you graduated from Canisius High School in Buffalo." His interlocutor knew it all -- where Tim had come from, where he had gone to school, how he had made his way to the network. Russert realized he had met his match -- and reveled in telling the story.

Let the record show, however, that the "Today Show" went to Rome and that, when Russert met Pope John Paul II, he gave the Holy Father an NBC cap. He told that story with an even bigger smile.

Russert turned "Meet The Press" into a fresh force as he combined his law school training, his belief in deep research and his encyclopedic knowledge of politics to create a style and method of questioning that is now widely imitated. Politicians knew they would be called to account for any and every past statements that conflicted with their present positions.

Russert was the courtroom prosecutor come to Sunday morning television and there were times when one politician or another began to crumble under the relentlessness of his questioning. At those moments, one had the feeling that they should call the rest of the show off and let the poor victim go off and recover in private.

But before and after those minutes under the bright lights, Russert was gracious and friendly with his guests, swapping stories, telling jokes, and always trying to get a fresh piece of gossip or insight or news from whatever politician was in the studio.

There were doubters when Russert made the shift from politics to journalism. These skeptics, in politics and particularly in journalism, questioned whether anyone who had worked in Democratic politics with the enthusiasm that he had shown could successfully make the transition to the more objective world of news.

He proved them wrong. He was a total newsy and an even-handed moderator. Many of the warmest tributes that flowed today came from Republican politicians who admired and respected the standards to which he adhered.

Russert never lost his sense of place, his upstate New York roots or a devotion to his family, even as he climbed higher and higher in his profession. He death shook the nation's capital Friday, but as that scene in Iowa on a wintry night more than six months ago reminds us, he will have mourners all over this country. The thought of him not being on the trail the rest of the way this year or in the many campaign years that should have been ahead for him is heartbreaking.

By Web Politics Editor  |  June 13, 2008; 6:45 PM ET
Categories:  B_Blog , Dan Balz's Take  
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Posted by: Nancy Barness | June 23, 2008 8:43 PM | Report abuse

I could now almost begin to believe that maybe there is some truth to the old saying that Friday the 13th can be a day when bad luck occurs. America suddenly and abruptly changed on June 13th, 2008, the only Friday the 13th of the year, when Tim Russert unexpectedly passed away. And with a sad heart, I can not help but feel that it was not a good change, not only just for our country, but in a way, for all of us individually. I have long greatly respected and admired Mr. Russert. I just didn't realize how much I admired him until he was suddenly gone.
A deep heartfelt thanks to NBC for its many on air tributes to him, and also much thanks to the other networks and cable services that showed their great respect for him. For a period in time in the hours and days after that Friday the 13th occurance, our great Country was brought together as we mourned his passing. But as it has in the past, American will continue to move on. Others will take Mr. Russert's position on Meet the Press and at NBC news, but, no matter however good of a job they might do in those positions, they will never, ever be able to "fill the shoes" of Tim Russert.

Posted by: Jim Fisher | June 22, 2008 12:28 PM | Report abuse

As a viewer and longtime admirer I feel a sense of personal loss a Tim Russett's passing. He embodied the best of what is means to be an American and that is in short supply today. Thank you, Sir, for all you gave us.

Posted by: Lynne Viewer | June 21, 2008 7:26 PM | Report abuse

thanks for the rainbow tim _ my daughter sent a similar communique the morning she transitioned at 22 years old - her communique was a brillant concentric ring circling the sun
Peace to you Tim and your endearing family and friends
Laura aspired to become a writer and journalist and I am sure she has center stage - if by chance you cross paths say hello and share a story
Namaste

Posted by: carolann | June 19, 2008 7:59 AM | Report abuse

I am a true republican and I have to tell you he made me think. He was a great man and I just watched your tribute on MSNBC and my heart went out to him and his son. I am glad I had the chance to watch him and I enjoyed his time. Luke, I lost my dad when I was five. Nothing that anyone can say will change what happened and you will have to grive. So please do that and you can feel relieved that everyone loved your dad.

Posted by: Dan Wilkes | June 19, 2008 12:46 AM | Report abuse

I have been so sad over the death of Tim Russert. My condolences to his family, co-workers, and friends. I loved watching Meet The Press and often played hookie from church to watch. What I liked about Tim was his absolutely contagious enjoyment of American political machinations. In a system that probably needs an overhaul, he helped all of us understand all its intricacies. I enjoyed his perceptive comments about the personalities involved and I believe he took great care to present both sides of an argument. Unlike many pundits, he was never glory-seeking and never cruel; he simply tried to bring the truth to us. Despite his expertise, Tim was able to exude an "every-man" quality that was very appealing. He will be sorely missed!

Now, can the rest of our reporters, political pundits, and politicians match his hard work, fairness, and modesty? Let Tim be your standard of excellence!

Posted by: Phyllis | June 18, 2008 11:34 AM | Report abuse

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Posted by: ACC | June 17, 2008 10:28 AM | Report abuse

Whenever I watched Meet the Press I remember having the same thought about him every time. He just seemed to really resonate with me as the one possessing the qualities I was wishing all the other politicians he interviewed had. It was like the big elephant in the room! I like this story: when Tim Russert first started working with Moynihan and was somewhat intimidated by all the Harvard and Yale students he was told: "What they know, you can learn, what you know, they can't learn..." I feel people who have a passion have much to teach us and can reach and inspire the most people regardless of what field they are in. He just happen to be in politics and journalism.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 17, 2008 12:19 AM | Report abuse

Thank you, Tim, for your integrity, your passion, and your wit.

Posted by: Female Sports Writer | June 16, 2008 9:28 PM | Report abuse

Tim Russert is one of a kind, I will miss his knowledge and his ability to communicate information.
His opinion matteredt to me.
Mary

Posted by: Mary | June 16, 2008 4:03 PM | Report abuse

My Sundays, Mass and Meet the Press with Tim Russert. I am truly saddened by Tim's sudden death. He was an icon in journalism with humble and honest attributes. He touched so many of our lives. God Bless Tim's family and may He grant Tim eternal rest and may the perpetual light shine unto him.

Posted by: Loyal viewer Caroline Petrykowski | June 16, 2008 10:24 AM | Report abuse

My Sunday mornings have fallen apart. I lived inn Alexandria, VA. for several years. You were brilliant! My Blessings to Mrs.ussett and Luke. We will miss you!

Posted by: D. Gale | June 16, 2008 12:47 AM | Report abuse

What I saw disappointed me. What I saw recently about him especially bothered me. He simply lacked the neutrality. He took sides. He did hatchet and hit work. He did political bidding for who he favored. That can be said about the entire network he worked for and most others like Steve Capps, Brian Williams, Andrea Mitchell, Keith Olbermann and others did the same attacks, spins and hit-work in the name of journalism. But these people pretend that they are "news reporters and journalists." But they are propegandists and publicists working for politicians in exchange for future favors and access. He's was much like another Bill O'Riely. And all these people are part of the corrupt, self-congratulating, self promoting, crooked American institution called Washington Media Establishment. These individuals have diminished and if not destroyed the most critical role of the "free press" must play in a democracy such as ours. Tim Russert was part of that crookedness. We all know that Tim Rissert went after Sen. Hillary Clinton with vengeance and determination cut her down, diminish her. In fact NBC's own SNL satirized Russert's nastiness!"

Another excellent, and pointedly honest account about the nastiness and arrogance of Tim Russert, masquerading as honest journalism. But of course, the Post media establishment can't see that, can they? They see themselves as hubris-filled gods of the media establishment just like Russert, overly paid, therefore thinking they are overly valuable. No one will give another thought to Russert in another week.

Posted by: Schmetterling | June 15, 2008 10:20 PM | Report abuse

I heard that one of Tim's favorite's sayings was "the best exercise for the heart is bending down and picking someone else up". Now we know why he died with an enlarged heart.

Posted by: susan Whitney | June 15, 2008 9:13 PM | Report abuse

I am so sad. Father Tim is gone. How can that be? I have based my Sunday's and what Mass to go to and no one is to call me, on watching him since January of '92 - Road to the White House. I never was intested in politics until then, so I remember precisly when my obsession started.

I still don't know what it will be like to have him not on TV as I have watched the wall to wall coverage since it happened. But come Monday it will begin, and slowly he won't be on our TV's anymore, but we will never forget such a fine decent man and journalist.

Posted by: Eve B. | June 15, 2008 7:42 PM | Report abuse

"DON'T CRY CAUSE IT'S OVER. SMILE BECAUSE IT HAPPENED"

Posted by: DAVID | June 15, 2008 7:23 PM | Report abuse

Every Sunday morning, when I was on the tred-mill, I moved along to the familiar face of Tim Russett. His untimely passing is like loosing a good friend, whose sharp mind, wit and great humor graced our televisions each Sunday. Moreover, his love of politics, family, and devotion to his faith made him a man of great conviction and courage.

You will be deeply missed, Tim. May you rest in peace.

Posted by: Barbara from Los Angeles | June 15, 2008 5:12 PM | Report abuse

Thank you so much Timmy. Now that you're work here is finished, go talk to my Dad. He's got a thousand more questions for you. I salute you my friend.

Posted by: James Barton | June 15, 2008 4:48 PM | Report abuse

I have never reacted this way over a death other than President Kennedy in 1963 when I was 19 years old. Like, 1963, I am in total shock. This is Camelot all over again. People will remember where they were and what they were doing when the news Of Tim Russert's death, hit us. I was e-mailing my cardiologist on my own heart woes when Tom Brokaw came in with a bulletin. When I saw Tom's face while sitting at my computer, I knew this Bulletin was BIG! IT WAS BIG. Needless to say, I did not finish my e-mail and had to lay down. I had a very similar heart event just like Tim's, 2 years earlier. The plaque had ruptured in the LAD and my first symptom was electrical heart imbalance and severe weakness. I knew I was in big trouble the way I felt. I would not go to a neighborhood hospital so hubby placed me in the back seat of the car and did almost 80 miles an hour to the Texas Heart Institute. I was in Vent Tachycardia. I was shocked back to normal sinus rythm. The shortness of breath left then and I was getting some life back. I was loaded with heparin and heart enzymes were taken. Second set showed heart involvement and I was taken to the Cath Lab. The LAD was the cuprit. It was stented. I had suffered an MI. I was one of the fortunate ones surviving this. I wish Mr. Russert had also. My heart goes out to his wife, his son, his Dad, his sisters and all those who knew and Loved him. May his soul rest in peace.
Mary Margaret O'Rorke
Houston

Posted by: MaryO | June 15, 2008 3:31 PM | Report abuse

As an American, I owe Tim Russert a huge debt of gratitude for bringing power to public account and doing it all with infectious child-like delight. His show was an hour of civil political grilling and wise analysis that left us richer, smarter, more well-informed. It was an integral part of our democratic process, and yet so much fun. His painstaking preparation, legendary steel trap memory, and excellently crafted questions almost always forced our public servants to reveal their thoughts and motives. His political analysis was absolute, his journalistic prowess unrivaled.

And, yes, I had a crush on him too. When Russert smiled, I inwardly smiled. How could you help but love the man who had so much love to give that it seemed to reach out across that pane of glass and into our Sundays--why else would so many people who did not know him feel so much grief and loss at his untimely passing. How can we never see his boyish grin again as he calculates the countless permutations of victory and defeat this electoral season.

As Americans, let us as rise to his example of passion for life, civility, hard-work, intelligence, love of family and civic responsibility.

As journalists, let us strive throughout our careers to rise to his level of integrity, passion for truth, accuracy and knowledge, ability to ask the right questions and listen to the answers, and bring all of that to our viewers. Let us keep the public trust as he did.

That is one way to pay back that huge debt of gratitude to him for asking the questions we wanted to ask and getting the answers we deserved to get, every Sunday. He made us a better nation by his all too brief presence among us.

And to his family, my deepest regrets at your loss and hope that you can take consolation in the fact that he led as full a life as anyone could ever hope for, and that this wonderful man was appreciated and loved by so many.


Posted by: CMG | June 15, 2008 3:28 PM | Report abuse

I Feel like a kid whose candy has been taken away... I didn't think I would cry about this man who I never met but this morning I did...I loved the stories he would tell about his Father which reminded me about my own Father who was of the Greatest Generation.. Tim Russert had a very very down to earth style & you knew what he said was sincere..
God bless.. I'll miss that voice.
Cuzin' GT

Posted by: Gary T. | June 15, 2008 1:29 PM | Report abuse

I finished watching MTP this morning and the touching tribute to a man who was must see tv on Sunday morning. In our family we called it the "Church of Tim". You always knew you were in for an intelligent hour of discussion with and about politicians.

My dismay with the "Hillary supporters" is their total lack humanity on a morning when millions of Americans are mourning the loss of one brilliant journalist. Can you not stop your petty hatred for one day? Have you no decency? I doubt Senator Clinton shares your views, as her intellect and empathy far outreaches yours.

Thanks Tim for the memories. Sundays will never be the same. My condolences to Tim's family and all Americans who adopted Tim into their collective families.

Posted by: mlanthier | June 15, 2008 12:42 PM | Report abuse

Tim, you will be sorely missed.
You made us proud to be Americans.
You embodied all that it is important and that we as a world need not loose. It includes an intense love for your family, honesty, integrity, a strong work ethic, and last, but not least never forgetting and being proud of your roots.

We loved you and you will always be in our hearts,

Bill Mizer and Julie Saari

Posted by: Julie Saari | June 15, 2008 11:56 AM | Report abuse

I wept when I heard the news about Tim Russert, a father, a son, a husband, and above all, it was he who still made us proud to be Americans.
We waited today to write, not only because it took awhile to assimilate that this had really happened, but because "Fathers' Day" was so important to him.
We so looked forward to "Meet the Press" each week because of Tim Russert. He embodied what is best about what is so hard to still find today in humanity. His honesty, his respect for others, his values, his loyalty to his roots, his true integrity, make him a hero to all of us. He will be sorely missed and what a loss to humanity.
We will always love you, Tim, and you will never be forgotten,

Bill Mizer and Julie Saari

Posted by: Julie Saari | June 15, 2008 11:44 AM | Report abuse

My father, who passed away 5 years ago, was a HUGE Tim Russert fan and admirer. My dad never missed an episode of "Meet the Press." I am comforted in knowing that Tim is in heaven having one heck of a political discussion with Bud. We will miss you Tim.

Posted by: Kathy Nemecek | June 15, 2008 9:58 AM | Report abuse

As both the SAINT, and my Ex'ed Account RAT(For WHAT Reason?), I have been peculiarly silent-till now.

It has been a time of Introspective Refection for me, even before this tragic event.

As I sit depressed by the turn of events that have devastated my life over the last few years, I seem to be constantly reminded, OTHERS have it worse!

They say Life is but a Game.

I would have to say I am getting very tired of the bad Dice Throws!

As far as a Man, and a very BIG Man like Tim Russert's passing is concerned, allow this (In my opinion) capable and Hyperactive Politico, but albeit, an AMATEUR Politico, to say I am SPEECHLESS!

Once again I find myself HUMBLED, and left wondering, WHY?

I am willing to die! I only exist because I am healthy enough to make my demise a Capital Sin. My World has been turned on it's head!

Thanks to some Moronic Ignorance, I am faced with a struggle to get BACK on my feet, that my previous Demise NOW can affect my very hire-ablity!
Yes folks, a bad Credit rating can allow you to NOT BE HIRED!

Die already Saint! :-(

But NO! A man who could have affected so many people's lives better than me died!

I'd be willing to carry his Torch! I'd be Honored to!

God Bless!

Posted by: SAINT---The | June 15, 2008 3:51 AM | Report abuse

It is not the occasional good deed or the occasional misdeed that sets the tone for a life, but the overall view that tells the story. Tim's overall view was of grace and wit, charm and wisdom, but most of all of passion. He cared greatly about politics and did all he could to keep it honest and working for and not against America. Our patriots are never perfect, but it is still a good thing to honor them for the service they have given to our country. Tim Served. And we honor him for it with full hearts.

Posted by: karela | June 15, 2008 2:20 AM | Report abuse

The world was a better place because of Tim Russett. I have never liked a journalist better than him. He was a father, a leader, and a great man. All in journalism should take some of his style from him from this day forward. God Bless him and May the angles rise to meet him.

Posted by: Catherine Mullis | June 15, 2008 12:55 AM | Report abuse

i'm as cynical as the next 30-something (more than many), and my capacity for shock and outrage has been blunted to the point of apathy by living in DC for 16 years.

BUT.

I still can summon genuine disgust when I see the tragic death of a human being -- a father, a husband, a friend to many -- exploited by petty people with political axes to grind. hey, i dunno, maybe i'm just overly sensitive, having lost my mother-in-law (at a similarly way-too-young age of 63) and my grandmother (at the can't-really-say-she-was-cheated age of 95) in the last 2 weeks.

but, really, that has nothing to do with it. reading silly smears regarding the objectivity of the -- I feel I should remind you -- recently DECEASED Mr. Russert makes me taste bile. i guess i shouldn't be surprised at this latest demonstration of that group's failure in the perspective department (seeing as you inhabit a parallel universe where national party sanctions for violation of party rules, in an election that your own candidate said "wouldn't count for anything," are suddenly the equivalent of slavery or authoritarian government-sanctioned disenfranchisement of populations), but I rather hoped for better.

give it a rest, at least for a few days, can't you?

Posted by: Edward Poole | June 14, 2008 10:31 PM | Report abuse

To "Paul"

I correct myself - my reference to the "TX debate" was incorrect, it should have read the "Ohio debates". My apologies.

Posted by: 18,000,000 | June 14, 2008 10:00 PM | Report abuse

To "Paul"

I too, worked for Sen. Clinton and I suggest that you re-familiarize yourself with videos of Russert and Clinton, or Russert and his colleagues, or Russert expounding on his own. I and other staff will not forget the sheer glee on Russert's face when Matthews repeatedly slobbered (to paraphrase), "you reeled in the big marlin, you did it, you reeled it in". This of course, is a reference to Clinton's statement during the TX debate, that she regretted her vote on the Iraq Resolution. Of course, if you choose to believe that Russert "only asked questions", I feel sorry for you and your inability to be forthcoming that his terrorist tactics were quite transparent. I do believe that I much preferred the personal side of Tim Russert vs. the professional Tim Russert. My sympathy to his family.

Posted by: 18,000,000 | June 14, 2008 9:50 PM | Report abuse

I've watched Tim and MTP throughout his
journalism career,he was at the top of his game. I gave his most recent book to my son and sons in law for father's
day 2007. I watched MSNBC when I knew Russert would be doing a guest analysis. I
would make it a point to watch Brokaw when he was scheduled to do the same. As I listened and watched the tributes for Tim the son, the husband, the father, the mentor and the friend, I thought how proud God must have been of His child.
It pains me to see what has happened to the news media particularly the diatribe spewed on cable. A fitting tribute might a
Russert school of journalism taught by
Brokaw, Gibson, Rose, Williams, Gregory,
Couric, Spitzer, Meacham, Feldman,Walters,
Schaffer,Rather,Buchanan,Scarboro,Mitchel,
They're a dying breed and Russert's army needs recruitment.
In response to Tom Brokaw, I've said a prayer for Tim and yes for his family and colleagues. God bless!

Posted by: Carol n.j. | June 14, 2008 9:45 PM | Report abuse

You know, for 7 months I was ridiculed, insulted and reviled as an Obamaniac, having drank the kool aid, having a messianic complex and even being taunted that "the skies opened and the choirs sang" etc. etc. Kind of interesting that this wild-eyed full throated support continues for a FORMER candidate. And that the previously level-headed champions of "ready on day 1 experience" are telling us that people are having heart attacks and brain tumors as God's retribution (a little more pointed than the clouds opening) for perceived bias against Sen. Clinton. Wow. And you said WE drank the kool aid? And please review the post from one of Sen. Clinton's staffers noting that you people have it ALL wrong defaming Russert for tough questions, not sexism. I swore I'd try to stay quiet but it's like you posters have no sense of propriety. Are you going to picket his funeral? Why don't you send stink bombs to his wife? Talk about deluded, poor losers. Wow. But I guess you never were Tim Russert fans or you couldn't be so poorly informed.

Posted by: straight talk my a** | June 14, 2008 6:30 PM | Report abuse

Russert was excellent and will be missed. Thank you for your help to the country.

(A small correction to the article re Iowa: It was less than six months ago, not more. "...but as that scene in Iowa on a wintry night more than six months ago reminds us, he will have mourners all over this country.")

Posted by: Nick | June 14, 2008 6:21 PM | Report abuse

America's heart is broken. Our kindest and most intelligent journalist is gone. Tim graced our lives with his wit and wisdom.
We send our love and prayers to the Russett Family.

Posted by: Regina and David Englert | June 14, 2008 6:12 PM | Report abuse

To: quityeducational

There is a time and a place for all things. This is the time to mourn. There will be time to dissect the pros and cons of Tim Russert in the future. Right now, it is a time to mourn. Please be considerate. You will have your opportunity to speak of what you perceive are negatives.

Posted by: Thalia | June 14, 2008 6:01 PM | Report abuse

His death need not prevent examination of his failures with respect to Hillary Clinton, and it certainly need not prevent informed examination by appropriate journalism figures of whether other major anchors failed in professional responsibility when covering Hillary. Though one understands why some might jump to a conclusion that this man of reported deep Catholic faith might stand motivated by sexism towards Hillary, a more reasonable explanation might involve his genuine desire to advance a candidate perceived as embodying progress in civil rights and international relations. Whatever the motivation, if the coverage failed to meet professional standards, the journalistic world does itself proud by reporting all the facts and comments, even at this difficult time for Russert's family and countless friends.

Posted by: equityeducational | June 14, 2008 5:22 PM | Report abuse

When I think of Tim Russert, the image conjures up a recollection of the 1897 New York Sun article "Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus", in which sweet little Virginia O'Hanlon sincerely writes, "Papa says, 'If you see it in The Sun, it's so.' Please tell me the truth, is there a Santa Claus?"

If Tim Russert said it was so, you knew you had the Truth of the matter. Russert came to embody that kind of integrity. Undoubtedly, that integrity grew out of the fact that Russert's brand of check-mate prosecutorial cross examination of politicians was always legitimate and logically and factually valid. Those cross examinations were never personal or petty or trivially collateral to the important issues of the moment. Russert never just tried to beat guests up with their prior inconsistent statements. His probes always sought to enlighten the viewers as to 'WHY' the guest's views had changed, was it a product of political pandering opportunism or was it a genuine turn-around eureka revelation on that issue. If it was the latter, Russert was always fair in availing the guest ample opportunity to explain, with specificity, exactly why and HOW the guest's prior reasoning was errant or logically and\or factually erroneous. Russert helped the viewer discern whether the guest was merely an inconsistent pandering opportunist chameleon, or whether they genuinely had shifted positions for good reason, such that most logical objective observers would understand and commiserate with the shift.

For me, Russert's endearing quality was that he never, ever let the guest usurp control. Russert never, ever let the guest dodge the pointed hard questions. When they tried to dodge the question, Russert stalked them relentlessly and persistently interrupted them with a repeat of the question, until the guest squarely addressed the question posed. It is sad, if not pathetic, to say that there is not nearly enough of this kind of simple, direct, unrelenting pursuit of elected officials, who must be held accountable to the American people for their actions and for the rationale (and motives) for holding such points of view. That is what scares me and disappoints me most about Russert's departure. Who is left in the U.S. Media to keep the politicians honest, or to at least expose politician pandering dishonesty every time it raises its ugly head?

When the media's role in the Iraq War coverage was criticized in McClellan's recent book, Brian Williams and Charles Gibson brushed-off the criticism as not accurate, with the argument that it is not the role of the media to "debate" the interview subject. That is what puts Russert head and shoulders above these superficial talking head anchors. Katie Couric was the only news anchor who had the guts and the integrity to unconditionally admit the mea culpa complicity of the U.S. Media in its disgraceful coverage of the Iraq War. Couric and Russert had the wisdom, the honesty and integrity to realize that the relentless, dogged pursuit of an interview subject with hard questions, and their determination not to let the interview subject diplomatically 'dodge' the question (removing all avenues of escape) cannot be honestly characterized as "debating the interview guest." Relentlessly pressing the hard questions while cutting off all avenues of escape (dodging havens) is simply responsible journalism in search of crucial hard painful truths that stand at ground zero in American politics.

Because the errant perceptions of media titans like Charles Gibson and Brian Williams tend to mirror the bogus perceptions of most U.S. Media journalists, Russert's loss is made all the more frightening and ominous. He was simply unmatched in his ability to disgorge the Truth, with or without the cooperation of his interview guests.

So great was Russert's tenacity and integrity, that if he ever told an inquirer "Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Clause" you would know, with dead reckoning certainty, that it was true and that there was a rational and articulable reason why it was true.

In this respect, Russert leaves behind a gaping hole and an enormously ominous, uncomfortable landscape in the U.S. Media, which seems to have adored him, but without fully grasping the true reasons why his presence was so endearing to the public.

Sincerely,
Reflecting Pool

Posted by: Reflecting Pool | June 14, 2008 5:19 PM | Report abuse

It was a total SHOCK. He will be missed. I hope and pray for his family. I love to watch politics and what is happening in our Country as do many others and it just won't be the same.

Posted by: Helen | June 14, 2008 4:49 PM | Report abuse

I just want to thank Dan Balz for his wonderful piece on an incredible journalist and amazing human being. He lived his faith - and it showed.

But I want to address the commentary left here by some very sad folks. I worked for HRC, I love her to this moment and will never forgive Chris Matthews or Keith Olberman for what they did to her - but to lump Russert with those two goons is completely uncalled for. Tim asked questions - they made comments. In the clip that was posted, Tim was doing his job - as he's done to Obama and McCain - and HRC beautifully responded.

I understand the resentment towards HRC media treatment - but aim it at where it belongs, not against Tim.

God Love You, Tim!

Posted by: Paul | June 14, 2008 4:35 PM | Report abuse

Tim Russert was a honest, powerful and widely respected journalist, will be missed by many of us like me who woke up on Sundays with coffee and watching MTP. Tim did his homework before posing a question to his guest, which made many of us trust him. Since he is gone my Sunday will not be the same, my deepest condolences to his family and MTP team. May peace be with him.

Posted by: Sathish | June 14, 2008 3:14 PM | Report abuse

To "AsperGirl" - thank you for your contribution, especially the Hillary Clinton/Tim Russert video clip reference - one of my many favorite memories from the primary debates.

I generally respect and often enjoy your postings, but cannot share your call to Clinton supporters to be less content with Tim Russert's transition. I would guess that most Clinton supporters don't necessarily wish harm on her detractors, but quite frankly, I shed no tears over Russert's death. Tim and his MSNBC buddies not only demeaned and trashed Hillary Clinton, they slapped the face of every woman in this country. And as we know, most Americans, including the Obama-nation, kept silent while the most vile and disgusting references about Sen. Clinton were spewed forth. As my elderly aunt likes to say, "Life is terminal".

Since you referred to Hillary Clinton's probable best wishes to Russert's family, I include the statement issued by both Hillary and Bill Clinton below:

6/13/2008
Statement of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton and Former President William Jefferson Clinton on the Death of Tim Russert

"We were stunned and deeply saddened to hear of the passing today of Tim Russert. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Maureen, his son Luke, his father who we all have come to know as Big Russ, his extended family and all of his many friends and colleagues at NBC who have suffered a tremendous loss. Always true to his proud Buffalo roots, Tim had a love of public service and a dedication to journalism that rightfully earned him the respect and admiration of not only his colleagues but also those of us who had the privilege to go toe to toe with him. In seeking answers to tough questions, he helped inform the American people and make our democracy stronger. We join his friends, fans and loved ones in mourning his loss and celebrating his remarkable contribution to our nation."

Posted by: one of many | June 14, 2008 3:13 PM | Report abuse

Much has been said about Tim being a good Catholic. Had he known beforehand, he probably would have said that it was, "Part of God's Plan."

It would not have part of mine.

Also, being trained in Catholic Theology, he would have believed that this was what he working towards all his life, anyway.

Too bad that what Luke was taught about that at Boston College has been tested so soon.

May the Perpetual Light shine upon you, Tim!


Posted by: Nor'Easter | June 14, 2008 2:50 PM | Report abuse

THIS BLOG SHOULD BE ABOUT THE LOVING MEMORIES THAT WE ALL SHARED REGARDING TIM RUSSERT.

people...none of us should be addressing the mindless, insensitive, and unknowledgeable people who are writing negative comments on here. it is quite obvious that they do NOT have a full grasp of what tim russert was about.

his intellect, knowledge, and good natured disposition allowed americans to have a much better grasp of the issues surrounding the politicians that he interviewed. not only that, he made it fun. i loved watching him make the politicians sweat.

he knew all of the right questions to ask, and got the best answers. it made choosing the politicians easier -based off of their actions and answers towards tim.

even though he was in such a powerful position in washington, he never had an ounce of arrogance about him. he was down to earth, and i will definitely miss his voice on sundays.

i dont know how anyone could fill his shoes the in the same way. i actually hope that his son luke takes over 'meet the press'. he would be about the only person who would have the same spin on it. tim just cant be replaced.

everyone who knew him really had a great and strong opinion of him and his integrity. its amazing that at only 58 years old, tim had touched so many peoples lives in such a positive way. we should honor the memory of him by living our lives in a similar way. he has inspired me to do more with my life. he worked his butt off, and always made time for his family. what a great guy!

tim russert - my hero!!! i truely miss him!

Posted by: debbi vigil -nyc | June 14, 2008 1:15 PM | Report abuse

You know, whether or not you liked Mr. Russert as a journalist, EVERYONE said what a thoughtful person he was personally, he had a great relationship with his dad, and had a long marriage and loved his son dearly. He was strong in his faith and a definite advocate for his friends and colleagues.

You people saying this happened to him because of his coverage of Hillary Clinton are simply disgusting. You act like his whole life was lived during the recent primary election, which it was not, and that he made no other contributions in his life. What a bunch of sorry, pathetic, disrespectful losers.

Posted by: Susan | June 14, 2008 1:12 PM | Report abuse

If I were Keith Olbermann, I would go down on my knees, with tears in my eyes, promising that I never do it again, promising to be a "truthful and respectable journlist," and publiclily beg Hillary Clinton for forgiveness, before the Goddess struck him down too, just like it happened to Tim Russert!

Posted by: | June 14, 2008 10:47 AM
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Chris Matthew was spotted in his church today confessing to his priest.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 14, 2008 12:45 PM | Report abuse

Sounds like Friday Knight is some young punk who delights in typing the most outrageous things he can to push people's buttons. Or, perhaps he's just a bitter individual who is totally lacking in grace and humanity.
What a scmuck!

Posted by: taildrag | June 14, 2008 11:59 AM | Report abuse

IT's sad to see the statements written by Hillary Clinton fans here. For MANY years, Tim provided neutral coverage of Bill Clinton's 'issues' with decency and respect; and afforded her the same while campaigning for president. He did grill her hard in that last interview and in the debate becuase she refused to state positions that were of strong interest to Americans. He did that thousands of times, look at the Perot and Gore interviews that are classics in TV journalism. To say he was gender biased against her is truly uniformed. Tim loved this country and wanted what was best for it...and given his strong convictions in that area, he probably felt it wasn't the chameleon persona of Senator Clinton; that Barack Obama or John McCain would be better to elevate this country. But no matter what, he needs to be applauded for his many years of efforts to keep politicians CLEAN and HONEST of their positions so that we Americans could vote with a sense of purpose. And he was the best at it, and deserves a full salute based on that alone. RIP, Timothy....

Posted by: Rockford James | June 14, 2008 11:49 AM | Report abuse

I'm a life long Democrat who never knew Tim worked in Democratic politics until he was on for 10 years or so.That's the measure of a down the middle journalist. I'm also from upstate New York and graduated from Canisius College a couple years ahead of Tim's graduation from another great Jesuit Institution John Carroll University. It gives me a sense of pride that this very famous man ,"NEVER FORGOT WHERE HE CAME FROM!" Rest in peace good brother Russert.

Posted by: PH | June 14, 2008 11:43 AM | Report abuse

Mike writes:

With Tim Russert gone, can you all collectively pick up the slack and carry on his mission? I, we, hope so.


NO, MIKE, SORRY, WE DON'T-RUSSERT WAS NOT EVEN MILDLY INTERESTING, HE WAS A ONE-NOTE HACK AND VERY VICIOUS IN HIS ATTACKS ON HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON; THERE WAS NOTHING SPECIAL OR INTELLECTUALLY PROBING OR INTERESTING ABOUT HIM WHATSOEVER. IF JOURNALISTS CARRY ON, THEY OUGHT TO ASPIRE TO A HIGHER STANDARD THAN ANYTHING RUSSERT EVER DID!

Posted by: Arrabbiato | June 14, 2008 11:36 AM | Report abuse

My thoughts and best wishes to all who knew Tim Russert personally and are directly affected by his sad loss.

As I watch the parade of his colleagues comment on his professionalism, drive to get at the truth and class, I can't help but think that the media's best tribute to this man is to emulate that. Can you? Can you stop being swayed and lobbied? Can you go the extra mile for the truths we, as citizens, deserve and he respected so much? With Tim Russert gone, can you all collectively pick up the slack and carry on his mission? I, we, hope so.

Posted by: Mike | June 14, 2008 11:31 AM | Report abuse

I agree Anon. 100% It's too bad the godly punishment couldn't have happened to Chris Matthews in the first instance-now that's someone, in his hate-filled moronic invective, who's TRULY deserving of a little strike-down action, if ever there is one! What goes around, comes around! Chris Matthews is a piece of dreck!

Posted by: Anonymous | June 14, 2008 11:27 AM | Report abuse

Enough of the eulogies already! Russert was not some head of state, he was a one-dimensional TV personality hack spewing his propaganda, in the tired old "gotcha" vein of journalism-there are dozens just like him just as there will be dozens like him in the future. But in our celebrity based society, people mourn as if the man were a member of the family or something! Sheesh! In a week, he'll be completely forgotten, now a casualty of the celebrity based culture, which moves on immediately to those people who are here and now, and doesn't linger over those who aren't!

How

Posted by: Arrabbiato | June 14, 2008 11:22 AM | Report abuse

Tim Russert is so well known and admired -his sudden death is a shock to the nation. His death is also a cautionary tale. In recent weeks, he had personal milestones, happy and sad, but all stressful- his son's graduation, committing his beloved Dad to a nursing home, a family vacation to Italy- where every tourist overindulges in the wonderful food, and the stress of covering the campaign. For the first time in his career, many people, including his friend Joe Klein, questioned Russert's journalistic fairness in his treatment of Hillary Clinton. The primary campaign has been traumatic for lots of Americans just watching it, and Tim Russert seems to have been very emotionally involved, and under some fire for his actions. In a way, he was a casualty of the vitriol of the campaign which, arguably, he had contributed to. Added to the other stressors in his life, it helped form the devastating confluence of the perfect storm . and his heart could not withstand it. I called my husband yesterday to tell him about Tim Russert, and his reaction was "But he won't get to see who wins the election!" My young daughter, who refers to him as "that funny, round-faced guy", said " What? No! He can't die- he has to be on tv!" My thought- we all just lost a lot of candlepower..we will have to work harder now to understand the political world, because Tim Russert won't be there effortlessly laying it out for us..without condescending, and without even the tiniest shred of pomposity. This guy was world-class intelligent, but he didn't rub your face in it.

Posted by: scribe15 | June 14, 2008 11:21 AM | Report abuse

yesterday I saw Nasty Keith Obermann humbled...or was he faking it??? Probably..... Why or why can't he be a tiny bit like Tim?

Posted by: jane | June 14, 2008 11:16 AM | Report abuse

There's only one Tim.

I'd have rather had the opportunity to experience his contribution, than for him to not have existed at all. At the very least, I'd have liked for Tim to see this process through. The Lord has freed him from his ailment.

For the family: The Lord is with you. Stay strong during this storm. The Lord will carry you through.

Thank you Tim. We will miss you.

Posted by: Obama2008 | June 14, 2008 11:03 AM | Report abuse

I want to remind Clinton supporters that yes, she took a lot of unfair media coverage and sexism, and yes, NBC/MSNBC was responsible for a lot of it.

But also remember how the really great thing about Clinton's campaign is how she came back against that barrage of media hostility, ridicule, sexism and belittling to run as a brilliant, strong, tough and accomplished candidate. There is no way she would want her supporters to wish harm or ill on those who tried to drag her down.

As a reminder of how Clinton's extraordinary ability and poise allowed her to come back again and again against the repeated sexist treatment she received, there is a video clip link below.

The below is a clip from a Russert-moderated debate in which he tried one of his signature, devastating "gotcha" quotes -- taking the sexist tack of holding Clinton responsible for her husband's statements from the past.

This is classic Russert. And see how an accomplished and smart Clinton handles it:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t1c10kwZWL4

Now there were worse things, like how MSNBC and NBC news became mysogyny and Clinton-bashing central, and the MSNBC moderated debate where Russert was acting in a way toward Clinton that, if he were in a courtroom, would be the behavior of a lawyer interrogating a hostile witness. (That is the debate lampooned by Saturday Night Live). But Clinton survived that, too.

In watching that clip, Clinton supporters should remember her brilliant, accomplished performance in debates, her ability to handle what she was subjected to, and come back and compete and win again and again in the face of that unfair and sexist treatment. It's that about her that made her, in the end, a winner and that was the aspect of her campaign that was special about her campaign when it came to its historic woman's achievement.

Clinton wouldn't want her supporters to wish her media detractors to suffer harm, and she in the end was winning primary after primary regardless of how media chose to treat her, anyways. I'm sure she wishes Tim Russert's family well.

Posted by: AsperGirl | June 14, 2008 10:29 AM | Report abuse

A few years ago, I scheduled a politician on his show and was amazed to hear Tim at the other end of the line. When I addressed him as "Mr. Russert," he replied, "it's Tim." He immediately put me at ease and I was as impressed by his personal warmth. His honesty, wisdom, knowledge, love of country and integrity shone through on each Meet the Press program.
Sundays will never be the same without Tim. A terrible and sad loss for journalism, his family - and for the country.

Posted by: carol | June 14, 2008 10:03 AM | Report abuse

someone dies, and all the creeps can do is attempt to make witty, stupid, insipid, moronic political hay from it... and to godiswatching...
indeed he/she is and takes notes of idiotic non-prophets such as yourself...

another human being dies and instead of expressing prayers of hopes for his family, the lowest trash from the cesspool of human existence spouts drival...

shame on all of you!

RIP Tim

Posted by: easyenough | June 14, 2008 9:36 AM | Report abuse

I missed the website for Matt Lauer this am--something like: russert.condolences@nbc---but Matt never posted it after I got a pencil and paper.
Hope this gets to the family.
I always admired Tim --- his smile was contagious. He was on TV a while ago when he was writing the book about Fathers.
He loved his dad so. I think I may have sent comments when requested to do so about your dad. My dad was one in a million, also. My heart goes out to his wife and son. What a loss!!! I could not believe it when I heard on TV that he had suddenly died. He did not have to suffer.
But the family left is no doubt devistated.
His dad will be left on Father's Day with out his dear son. Who would have guessed.
A legacy to be followed is now his son's.
May you all be comforted by our God of Comfort. God Bless. Fan from Columbus, OH

Posted by: carol maxwell | June 14, 2008 9:23 AM | Report abuse

Bastard got what he deserved for being so secxist and unfair.

Posted by: A NYCer | June 14, 2008 9:11 AM | Report abuse

I think it is truly awful there are anonymous posters here who allude to the idea Mr. Russert got what he deserved for their interpretation of his Obama over Hillary coverage. One writer wished more of the same, to extend to Chris Matthews.

To be that self-centered and self-serving is appalling. Tim Russert had a long and revered career in journalism, and whether or not you agreed with his recent primary coverage, to say he was punished for supporting Obama makes me question your sanity. Pathetic, truly.

Posted by: Susan | June 14, 2008 9:10 AM | Report abuse

My first reaction was there is a God who abuse their power and authority. NBC/MSNBC marketed a GE product called Obama to the detriment of Hillary. I would have liked Chris Matthews to be the recipient of some godly punishment

Posted by: Anonymous | June 14, 2008 7:15 AM | Report abuse

Sadly, what many, many people will remember about Tim Russert is how, in the past few months, he became the face of media bias and sexism in the Obama-Clinton contest. In interviews, his interrogative referential style became a parody of itself as petty "gotcha" questioning and nagging. His leadership in the echo chamber of sexism and partisanship of the NBC news/infotainment culture was sadly prominent, too.

In the past few months, Russert's famous fairness and decency seemed to give way as he became the face of gender disrespect and bias in political media. His influence was so key, and since he was conscious of that, it's hard to believe that he didn't depart from his longstanding principles of balance on purpose.

Posted by: Former Clinton Supporter | June 14, 2008 5:46 AM | Report abuse

IT WOULD HAVE BEEN NICE IF WE HAD PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES WITH SUCH A DEVOTION TO THEIR JOBS DO AS THIS MAN HAD. IT TRULY WAS A PLEASURE TO WATCH HIM AND HE WAS VERY GOOD AT WHAT HE DID.

IT IS A KNOWN FACT THAT CHARACTER IS CREATED FROM BELIEFS, NEVER FORGETTING WHERE YOU CAME FROM IS VERY IMPORTANT BECAUSE YOU MIGHT HAVE TO GO BACK ONE DAY.

HE WAS A CHARACTER, HE HAD STRONG BELIEFS, HE SPOKE OF THEM OFTEN. HE WILL BE MISSED. MAY HE STAY IN OUR HEARTS FOREVER.

Posted by: Judy in Atlanta | June 14, 2008 5:42 AM | Report abuse

For the greater glory...

The very best. In tribute, I played a cello 'Elegie' by Massenet: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OnuUgWg2FpQ

RIP Tim

Posted by: James | June 14, 2008 4:32 AM | Report abuse

This was one Man who you by his TV show actually lived the true ideals of journalism.

Observing his relationships from afar he exuded, happiness, honesty integrity, strength, leadership, being supportive, and reasonable. What a Man.

What a loss, the world is emptier as a result. What man Mr. Tim russet, a great man.

Posted by: Yom | June 14, 2008 2:57 AM | Report abuse

Tim seemed to enjoy life. From his family to his profession he seemed to have a passion for life. He didn't take life for granted as much as many of us.
As far as being a Roman Catholic, I believe that he lived what Jesus taught, ie, "what you do to the least of my sisters and brothers, you do to me."
That's being pro-life. Not this pious, self-righteous, fundamentalist idealogy that no less than Jesus would condemn.

Posted by: joe | June 14, 2008 2:01 AM | Report abuse

God wanted him now and allowed us to have him long. My prayers are with his family. I only feel gratitude for his essence and its effect on all who came to experience him. Sweet beyonds, Mr. Russet

Posted by: Deborah | June 14, 2008 1:18 AM | Report abuse

Oh for god's sake! RUSSERT WAS AN OVER-RATED, OVERLY OPINIONATED, NASTY TV PERSONALITY, THAT'S IT! QUIT TRYING TO MAKE HIM OUT LIKE HE WAS SOME-DEMI-GOD-SHEESH! ENOUGH WITH THE OVER-EULAGIZING ALREADY!

HE WON'T BE MISSED BY ANYONE IN A WEEK, JUST LIKE NO ONE AT THE POST WOULD BE MISSED IF THEY SUDDENLY WEREN'T HERE ANYMORE, DESPITE THEIR SENSE OF SELF-IMPORTANCE!

Posted by: ARRABBIATO | June 14, 2008 1:09 AM | Report abuse

Nice tribute. Succinct and full of colorful details. U took us to Iowa in Mr. Russert's obviously enchanting company. What a gentleman. What a journalist. I was heartstricken when I heard the news today.

Posted by: Rhonda | June 14, 2008 12:55 AM | Report abuse

My eyes are swollen for a man I did not even know. Or did I? Strange how TV can create friendship, admiration, respect, and love...

I will truly miss him.

Posted by: Peggy | June 14, 2008 12:53 AM | Report abuse

Edward Kennedy was a saboteur of Sen. Clinton's campaign. Tim Russert was also a saboteur of Sen. Clinton's campaign. A trend may be discernible. One should be mindful of the "golden rule."

Posted by: crat3 | June 14, 2008 12:51 AM | Report abuse

First I was shocked. Then I started to cry. I will miss him dearly. Through out the campaign I only watched 'meet the press', why? It is the only show whereby the interviewer and interviewee are not shouting at each other. I cannot take people talking over each other. I am just regretting not getting to know him sooner. Why are all the good journalists taken away from us so early in their life. So unfair!!

Posted by: tango | June 14, 2008 12:25 AM | Report abuse

Nothing in political reporting will ever be the same without Tim Russert on TV. He was so together, so even-handed, and you could tell he loved what he did. My heart breaks for his family and his son, especially. He seemed to be the proudest father of his boy Luke -- and so grateful for all his blessings. Only the good die young. God Bless Tim Russert.

Posted by: natural curls | June 14, 2008 12:17 AM | Report abuse

So much good has been said. But, yet not enough. He was Fair, Just, Smart, Kind, However, a year will pass and still not enough good, will be said.

Posted by: Fred MO | June 14, 2008 12:12 AM | Report abuse

Tim, what a shame! You were in the mainstream of this presidential race with its complexities and innuendoes and negatives and positives. But you put everything into perspective and made this viewing so much more sensible. Your smile denoted your overall thrill and excitement towards what your chosen career brought forth to you and then to us. May you rest in peace, but methinks, you are still too wound up for any rest right now! Take care, Mr. Russert.

Posted by: Bob Clark | June 14, 2008 12:07 AM | Report abuse

Tim, what a shame! You were in the mainstream of this presidential race with its complexities and innuendoes and negatives and positives. But you put everything into perspective and made this viewing so much more sensible. Your smile denoted your overall thrill and excitement towards what your chosen career brought forth to you and then to us. May you rest in peace, but methinks, you are still too wound up for any rest right now! Take care, Mr. Russert.

Posted by: Bob Clark | June 14, 2008 12:07 AM | Report abuse

There was no one finer, he will be remembered always!

God Bless his family..especially Big Russ! It is not the natural order to out live your children.

Sundays will never be the same-either will the elections!

Posted by: Debbieinpaso | June 14, 2008 12:01 AM | Report abuse

He will be missed. In our current media environment, where screaming biased and downright lazy reporting and intervieiwng defines so much 24 hour news, Russert was something special. I only hope the standards he set for Meet the Press, the preparation, toughness, yet respectful manner remains.
This is going to be a tough election cycle without him. And, oh yeah, go Bills.

Posted by: Scott | June 13, 2008 11:58 PM | Report abuse

What are we going to do without him? America needs him still.

Posted by: Dan Harlow | June 13, 2008 11:57 PM | Report abuse

Thank you, Tim, for all you did for all of us. I shall miss but always remember you and your work.

Posted by: Bob B | June 13, 2008 11:46 PM | Report abuse

I am quite sad to hear of his passing. His voice had such a claming effect. He made it easy to understand the interview and I loved his warm smile.
Rest in peace Tim. You will be greatly missed. It was our privilage as the public to have the honor of having you as a part of our lives.

Posted by: Mehrbanoo | June 13, 2008 11:44 PM | Report abuse

I watched Tim Russert every Sunday for the last 5 years and nightly on NBC for his great political insight. Although I never met him, I felt as if I knew him and I will surely miss him. Ironically, just last week I thought of switching to another network for my nightly news. The first thing I thought of was missing Mr. Russert's views on the current presidential race. He was at the top of his game.

Posted by: Scott, Milwaukee | June 13, 2008 11:39 PM | Report abuse

Tim was that rare combination of intelligence, intensity, humility and joy. People across the political spectrum trusted and admired him.He was the standard to which others will be held and found wanting.
Friday Knight, I figured it out ! You're what my old Irish grandma was referring to when she said; "there's more horse's asses than horses"

Posted by: Liz Bruno, St Marys Ga. | June 13, 2008 11:36 PM | Report abuse

God bless. My ears perked up and eyes opened wide each time he was on TV. He always had a twinkle in his eyes and a smile on his face. He was great!

Good night, sweet prince, good night.

Posted by: allforchange | June 13, 2008 11:34 PM | Report abuse

To help those who are challenged telling shinola from sh##:

Russert = shinola to the highest degree.

Olbermann = sh##!!!!!

Posted by: auto1 | June 13, 2008 11:29 PM | Report abuse

Tim Russert was a gifted man. He was very much a person who had his life and career grounded. Everyone has beliefs that another person may disagree with and he was no exception. That is what makes a person real and intelligent. He believed in his faith and work and it showed every Sunday and on all the special assignments he was host to. He will be missed. My prayers are with his family at this sad time. Please give respect that he deserves and stop using this forum to voice your to late comments.

Posted by: KMC | June 13, 2008 11:29 PM | Report abuse

My guess is that he ate too much high-calorie food and did very little strenuous exercise, if any.

Should it be any surprise that he is dead at 58 ?

Mr. Russert was a good man, I'll say that for certain even though I did not know him, but you could see that he was heading down a road to physical ruin. Millions of people watched him on Sunday mornings for 17 years. He steadily gained weight in that time. I never saw him in person, but his appearance became unhealthier every time I watched "Meet The Press".

Let this be a lesson. Eat a sensible diet and exercise regularly.

Posted by: Dan from Mass. | June 13, 2008 11:29 PM | Report abuse

Dear Friday Knight,
Find something better to do with your life then sit and write mean comments about a great man, and father.
I hope his son and family doesnt see your comments.
Get a life!

Posted by: Nick | June 13, 2008 11:24 PM | Report abuse

Why is this so hard to fathom? Tim was a man who I knew only through television. Yet, it was like I've known him my whole life. He was what many men our age want to be...great son, great father, great husband, great professional. I feel like I've lost a very,very good friend. My deepest sympathy to Tim's family. I
will really miss him

Posted by: Joe | June 13, 2008 11:24 PM | Report abuse

Few people had a life as rich, meaningful and celebrated as Tim Russert. Few people ever contribute so much to their country, its citizens and the thinking of millions of Americans. He has left an indelible mark on the broadcasting industry and in the history of journalism where he was a giant of intellect, personal charm, honesty and human decency. I came home this evening to hear the news of his passing and I was shocked at my sense of loss and the real deep down grief I felt. Mr. Russert was a giant of his times and my sympathy goes out to his family, to journalists everywhere and those who honor truth and know the value of a very good man.

Posted by: sy levy | June 13, 2008 11:22 PM | Report abuse

Oh, when you're down and looking for some cheering up,
Then just head right on up to the candy mountain cave.
When you get inside you'll find yourself a cheery land,
Such a happy and joyful and perky merryland.
They've got lollypops and gummy drop and candy things,
Oh so many things that will brighten up your day.
It's impossible to wear a frown in Candy Town,
It's the mecca of love the candy cave.

They've got jelly beans, and coconuts with little hats,
Candy rats, choco bats, it's a wonderland of sweets.
Ride the candy train to town and hear the candy band,
Candy bells, it's a treat as they march across the land.
Cheery ribbons stream across the sky into the ground,
Turn around, it astounds, it's the dancing candy tree.
In the candy cave imagination runs so free,
So now Tim Russert please will you go into the cave.

Posted by: Charlie Unicorn | June 13, 2008 11:19 PM | Report abuse

in a time when so many people are so shallow, and spout bullet points and 'issues' rather than humanity and compassion, I think Mr. Russet transcended the bull.
I hope his family finds some peace, and am happy to remember a wonderful journalist in an era where we lack tremendous muckracking.

Posted by: courtney | June 13, 2008 11:19 PM | Report abuse

Tim Russert was a true hero among journalists. May God bless his family, his coworkers and his colleagues at this difficult time. Let's hope the press will learn from his gracious example and help elevate public discourse in this crucial election year.

And to the commenter Friday Knight: Judge not lest you be judged, unless you think you're qualified to cast the first stone. You should be ashamed of yourself. As a Christian and an American, presuming that you also consider yourself to be both, I am ashamed of you and your cruel remarks at what is a difficult time for many friends and fans around the country and around the world.

Posted by: Jenny | June 13, 2008 11:09 PM | Report abuse

"True Catholic," my a**. He was pro-abortion. Tell that to Jesus in your interview, Russert. See what it gets you. A few degrees hotter, I'd say.

Posted by: Friday Knight | June 13, 2008 10:58 PM | Report abuse

My heart goes out to the Russert family. I've always looked forward to Sunday mornings and watch MTP. Politics won't be the same without Tim being in the center of it.
We'll miss you. Rest in peace, friend.

Posted by: cvc | June 13, 2008 10:52 PM | Report abuse


A model for us all.

A true journalist, a true Catholic, and truly a gentle man.

I only wish we could claim he learned some of his trade
at the Missouri J-School!

Long live his name and legacy, and peace to his family.

Live Free.
Ricky Galileo

Posted by: Ricky Galileo | June 13, 2008 10:50 PM | Report abuse

Cry me a river. What a bunch of babies.

Posted by: Friday Knight | June 13, 2008 10:34 PM | Report abuse

I haven't mourned with tears the death of someone I did not know since the death of President John F. Kennedy.

Today, I cried.

Posted by: Mary Ann | June 13, 2008 10:23 PM | Report abuse

What a loss. What a sad day.

Posted by: joe | June 13, 2008 10:19 PM | Report abuse

I am going to miss him...I can't believe it. He was the only one I really liked listening to talking about Politics. He really had a way about him and I agree, I think I had a crush on him too....he was always so jolly! You will be missed Tim.

Posted by: Laura | June 13, 2008 10:14 PM | Report abuse

Friday Knight, there is always one like you in every crowd.

You would not know a real journalist if one ran over you.

He will be missed!

Posted by: Anonymous | June 13, 2008 10:13 PM | Report abuse

Let the wake begin.

Lighting up my weed now smoke ya into the next world bro.

Posted by: Adios Amigo | June 13, 2008 10:13 PM | Report abuse

Sympathy to your family and friends.
Thanks Tim....you were our Sunday Mass. Thank you for asking the questions that we could not.Thanks for all the joy, hard work, intelligence and humanity you brought to your job. We'll all miss you. God Bless you and keep you always

Posted by: Mary Fitzpatrick, New York, NY | June 13, 2008 10:10 PM | Report abuse

i dont know him but from the look of things he must be a really great man..the man that i will wish him dead is Rush Limbaugh

Posted by: richard | June 13, 2008 10:08 PM | Report abuse

"Mom, your boyfriend is on!" My daughter, now 14-years old, was no more than seven when she began what would become her standard Sunday morning tease. She was correct; I had a crush on Tim Russert and I looked forward to watching him each week. While it was his intellect, skill as a journalist, and incredible work-ethic, I admired, it was the smaller quirky stuff that fueled my crush. When he'd pull out that little white board "to do the math", I'd swoon. Who else could pull that off? So low-tech, yet so perfect; he made it work. Oh how I enjoyed that hair of his! What a terrific mess. Although my daughter teased me, she understood and appreciated that Mr. Russert was a man worthy of her mother's affection. That made me proud. "I'm sorry, Mom. Will you be okay?" Yes, but Sunday mornings won't be the same.

Posted by: Ann | June 13, 2008 9:52 PM | Report abuse

Tim Russert embodied everything I like to see from journalists -- but too rarely do. He first and foremost a hard worker. He searched for the truth, and he was always prepared. To my knowledge, he never mailed it in. And that hard work made itself manifest in the quality of his show.

While newspaper journalists do everything to counter the slide in readership except be better reporters, Russert's hard work led Meet The Press to the top of the ratings. Sadly, he probably will not be replaced; that kind of energy is too uncommon these days. Better to cultivate sources, offend as few as possible, and take it easy. We will all be poorer for that.

RIP, Tim.

Posted by: gbooksdc | June 13, 2008 9:46 PM | Report abuse

I work Sundays so I rarely saw MTP on TV. It was a ritual of mine on Mondays to drop the kids off at school, come back home and start my chores. Meet the Press and Tim Russert would always be in the background- thank God for netcasting. God Bless Tim, I will miss him.

Posted by: David | June 13, 2008 9:39 PM | Report abuse

Tim would be embarrassed by the tributes. He was a gracious and humble man. I think he would hope that our thoughts and prayers go out to his wife, son and colleagues.
Thanks Tim

Posted by: Chris | June 13, 2008 9:35 PM | Report abuse

Tim Russert was a true pro who had a unique ability to connect with people at every station in life, whether world leaders or everyman. We will not see his equal in our lifetime. A giant in TV journalism who leaves an indelible legacy.

Posted by: Robert in G-Burg | June 13, 2008 9:32 PM | Report abuse

Tim Russert was a teacher and mentor to every American interested in the machinations of our public union. What I will remember most is his passion - a passion he raised in me - for not only the moment ("Florida, Florida, Florida"), but for our history, the relevance of our past decisions, and the gravity of the task at hand.

Posted by: Eric Lodal, Basalt CO | June 13, 2008 9:27 PM | Report abuse

FRIDAY KNIGHT! YOU BETTER HOPE YOU DONT BURN IN HELL! WHAT A BAD THING TO SAY !OLD TIM WILL BE INTERVIEWING JESUS TONIGHT I BET LOL,. I'M GOING MISS HIM.

Posted by: TONY | June 13, 2008 9:26 PM | Report abuse

I would actually wake up on Sunday morning just to hear his voice and appreciate his knowledge. I will miss him ... so much

Posted by: Anonymous | June 13, 2008 9:26 PM | Report abuse

Tim was my lifeline to the universe of politics in America. I will forever feel a void on Sunday mornings. This political season and those in the future will not be the same without Tim's thoughtful insight and skills for interviewing those who form the policies for our country.

Posted by: Denise J | June 13, 2008 9:25 PM | Report abuse

Thank you Dan -- you wrote a wonderful tribute that just begins to show the depth of spirit and graceful curiosity that was Tim Russert. Our heavy hearts are lifted by your heartfelt eloquence. Thank you. God Bless Tim and his family.

Posted by: GandalftheGrey | June 13, 2008 9:23 PM | Report abuse

James get your facts straight bigg russ isn't dead.

Posted by: a | June 13, 2008 9:21 PM | Report abuse

Sunday's and election nights will never be the same. Russert had the innate ability to draw in even the casual viewer and make them care about politics and keeping politicians honest. He was a legend...

http://www.political-buzz.com/

Posted by: matt | June 13, 2008 9:13 PM | Report abuse

Friday Knight, I hope you know you're the worst kind of human being. You should be ashamed.

Posted by: ManUnitdFan | June 13, 2008 9:12 PM | Report abuse

Tim Russert was a respectful journalist who listened to his guests, challenged contradictions and reported fairly.
He should be a reminder to some Cable News pundits that such journalism is what our country needs and what the gold standard should be.

Posted by: susan Shear | June 13, 2008 9:11 PM | Report abuse

Tim was great journalist. He always had more astute and insightful analysis of all the T.V. journalist.

I will miss him

Posted by: Sam69 | June 13, 2008 9:11 PM | Report abuse

I hope he burns in hell. Russert was an a**hole.

Posted by: Friday Knight | June 13, 2008 9:10 PM | Report abuse

Goodbye, brother.

Posted by: Chritain Left | June 13, 2008 9:06 PM | Report abuse

You'll be with Big Russ now. God bless you Tim. Some one make sure Putin didn't do it.

Posted by: james | June 13, 2008 9:00 PM | Report abuse

I like Dave's note. Yes, where is Sherlock Holmes when you need him? Yes, the person who replaces Tim is the culprit. Did he/she do it with curare or poison coffee?

We need a sense of humor at this time.

Russert was a great journalist and a really fair-minded man. We will miss his ethical approach and humor.

Posted by: Daddio on the Paddio | June 13, 2008 8:52 PM | Report abuse

I'm sitting here in my room with the sun coming up in Australia and I am truly heart broken.

I heard the news in the early hours of this morning Australian time on CNBC and I am beside myself with grief. I will greatly miss his special style of journalism. As a training journalist I drew a lot from him. He was one of my idols in journalism. I will miss watching him on Meet The Press more than I can possibly imagine now. He was a mate to me. Sounds funny, but he was. He reached through the TV. He had that special touch. I used to watch him early in the mornings here. It was must see TV. As I type this I still can't believe he will never make another show.

My thoughts go out to his family, the MTP team, the NBC team in general and the wider journalism community in the US.

I can only hope to be half the journalist and man he was.

It is going to be a hard day for me.

There is not much more I can say and nothing more that can express how I feel right now.

God bless you Tim.

I miss you already and I will miss you this Sunday.

Posted by: Matthew | June 13, 2008 8:40 PM | Report abuse

I'm sitting here in my room with the sun coming up in Australia and I am truly heart broken.

I heard the news in the early hours of this morning Australian time on CNBC and I am beside myself with grief. I will greatly miss his special style of journalism. As a training journalist I drew a lot from him. He was one of my idols in journalism. I will miss watching him on Meet The Press more than I can possibly imagine now. He was a mate to me. Sounds funny, but he was. He reached through the TV. He had that special touch. I used to watch him early in the mornings here. It was must see TV. As I type this I still can't believe he will never make another show.

My thoughts go out to his family, the MTP team, the NBC team in general and the wider journalism community in the US.

I can only hope to be half the journalist and man he was.

It is going to be a hard day for me.

There is not much more I can say and nothing more that can express how I feel right now.

God bless you Tim.

I miss you already.

Posted by: Matthew | June 13, 2008 8:32 PM | Report abuse

Tim was the finest journalist on television. He was a very caring individual who can never be replaced. Thank you for writing such an honest article about an honest man.

Posted by: Stephanie | June 13, 2008 8:32 PM | Report abuse

he's done it like no one did... lived, worked, and loved his family. luke has a lot to be proud about.

Posted by: bashar | June 13, 2008 8:30 PM | Report abuse

Such a sadness envelops me knowing that the man most eager for the '08 election will not be here to see it through.

Posted by: klazzik | June 13, 2008 8:28 PM | Report abuse

My Sunday Mornings will never be the same. My knowledge of the political landscape will suffer severly. I relied on Tim to teach me the way the election process works and to judge each candidate fairly by supplying the knowledge to make a intelligent decision.

Thank you Mr. Russert

Posted by: Susan B | June 13, 2008 8:25 PM | Report abuse

Way, way, way, way, way too soon.

There is now a hole in this American life we all share.

We have lost a giant.

Posted by: A Brokenhearted Admirer | June 13, 2008 8:17 PM | Report abuse

Our deep sympathies to Mr. Russert's family and colleagues. Heaven is a richer place tonight, but we are very much the poorer for his loss. We can't imagine the election season or the political scene without Tim Russert and will miss him tremendously.

Posted by: ANetliner | June 13, 2008 8:14 PM | Report abuse

I bet one of his competitor OR someone who wanted his well paid job killed him. It smells like an inside job. The person who replaces him is the #1 suspect. Where's Sherlock Holmes when you need him?

Posted by: Dave | June 13, 2008 8:10 PM | Report abuse

the world of journalism will be grief stricken for a long, hard, and heavy time whilst mourning for this man. he was the epitome of the press, the harbinger of truth, and the example of an unbiase nature. i will miss him.

Posted by: sheila | June 13, 2008 8:10 PM | Report abuse

Tim Russert was the best in the business.
You did an excellent job with this piece.
Tim, you will be missed.

God bless your family.

Lee

Posted by: Lee | June 13, 2008 8:09 PM | Report abuse

What a sweet lovable guy and I am so sad for his family. It's just too soon and it's not going to be good for us fans of Meet the Press because of him. Balance, courage, and a generous spirit. I am just sad for his family. It's too soon. God bless.

Posted by: Gaias Child | June 13, 2008 7:58 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, you captured what I'm fealing in my heavy heart today. It's finnaly hitting me, after hours of thinking it must have been some horrible mistake.

Posted by: Jenn | June 13, 2008 7:52 PM | Report abuse

Well said. My Sunday afternoons will be emptier (I caught the rebroadcast on C-Span).

BB

Posted by: Fairlington Blade | June 13, 2008 7:48 PM | Report abuse

Dan,

You nailed it---hard to imagine watching election coverage without Tim. A shocking loss.

Posted by: Kenan Block, Seattle | June 13, 2008 7:40 PM | Report abuse

ii enjoyed ttim so much every sunday morning while getting ready for church. I especially admired him for his love for his father and his son. Tim,you will be missed.

Posted by: cheryl g. | June 13, 2008 7:24 PM | Report abuse

What America needs are more Tim Russerts...strong journalists who have the the backbone to ask the right questions at the right time of the people who make decisions that affect the World and Media employers who will hired strong journalists to ask those
right questions at the right time.

Posted by: steve dobkowski,Detroit | June 13, 2008 7:23 PM | Report abuse

AMDG, Tim. You lived it.

Posted by: ewazm | June 13, 2008 7:19 PM | Report abuse

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