Friday, June 13, 2008

RIP Tim Russert 1950 - 2008

Updated with reflections from his son Luke, Chris Matthews, Mike Barnicle, Pat Buchanan, Doris Kearns Goodwin, Tom Brokaw, Maria Shriver

Buffalo-born Irish American Tim Russert, anchor of NBC's "Meet the Press," died Friday afternoon of an apparent heart attack. His last act was doing voice overs for Sunday's show. The Emmy award-winning Washington Bureau chief of the network was only 58 years old and had just returned from a European trip with his wife Maureen Orth and son, Luke. He is survived by them, his sisters, and his father, Timothy Sr., about whom Tim wrote two best selling books("Big Russ and Me: Father and Son: Lessons of Life" and "Wisdom of Our Fathers:Lessons and Letters from Daughters and Sons"). One of the country's most respected political journalists, he was known as a hard questioner no matter which side of the political aisle upon which one sat. If you click on no other link, listen to the videos made by his colleagues. They are accolades to his gravitas, in a business that is all too often cut-throat. Particularly listen to Matthews, Barnicle and Buchanan on Hardball as they discuss the Irish obsession with politics and Irish-American Catholicism.
Photo credit: Boston College

Russert, who was a National Baseball Hall of Fame board member, began his career with NBC in 1984 and helmed "Meet the Press" beginning in 1991; prior to that he had been a counselor to New York Governor Mario Cuomo, who authored the 2008 Time Magazine biography featured below and earlier, an aide to Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan. We remember meeting him in Kingston, NY in the late 1970's when the senator was on a trip there and Russert served as chief of staff. A gracious man with an Irish sense of humor, he displayed a keen insight for politics which served him well in both his political and journalistic careers. And he was always kind to the journalists, even those of us who freelanced.

God rest his soul, and give comfort to his family. We will miss his voice, especially in this presidential election year.

Timothy J. Russert, 1950 - 2008,28804,1733748_1733752_1735737,00.html,8599,1814437,00.html

Patricia Jameson-Sammartano
Culture Editor, WGT

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