I just got in a couple of hours ago from abut 8 hours on the road and not a lick of news, by choice. Needless to say, I was stunned to get back online and see that Tim Russert had died suddenly today. I bumped into Tim Russert, literally in the press area of a Kerry campaign event in NH right before the primary. A little flustered after walking into him, I apologized and said “hey you’re Chris Matthews” and he smiled and grumbled “no Tim Russert.” Needless to say I felt like a complete fool…
The Caucus has a round-up of reactions to the news of Russert’s death. I noticed they didn’t have the statement from Senator John Kerry:
“Today’s awful news about Tim Russert’s sudden passing is a swift kick for everyone who knew, respected, and loved Tim and had the honor of sharing his company. It’s hard to describe the shock. Tim was the best political newsman of his generation, and he was a trailblazer in the unique way he brought his personal love of politics, honed by Moynihan and Cuomo, right into our living rooms every Sunday. Tim was at once brilliant and insightful while always approachable, always accessible, and always your next door neighbor and your friend who was there to referee the debates of the big issues of our time. He relished that role and he excelled at it, as any one would who believed in the tenets of Jesuit education. He loved to hold the big guys accountable and in the original, intelligent, studied way he did it he emerged as the biggest guy of all. It is impossible to overstate how much Tim was inseparable from American politics. When I decided to announce for President, the only place to do it was on ‘Meet the Press.’ It is impossible to imagine political life without him as our guide every Sunday. But it is even more difficult to find the words to express our sympathy for Maureen, Luke, his father Big Russ, and Tim’s family at NBC. Tim, Maureen, and their family will remain in our thoughts and prayers a long, long time.”
Russert was “The Coach,” and a “Father Figure” to his peers and “Mr. Russert “was like a quarterback who could see the whole field,” Mr. Brokaw said, understanding the strengths and weaknesses of all the players. “He was a tough interrogator, no question about it, but he kept his very strong personal opinions to himself” and went after both sides “pretty aggressively.””
Chris Cillizza says:
Russert was, without question, the single most influential political journalist working in Washington. His show — known to insiders as simply “MTP” — was not only the most watched of the Sunday news programs but also the one that every politician and journalist aspired to appear on. […]
There will be any number of pieces written over the next few days about Tim’s passing and the impact he had on the world of politics. (And make sure to read what Dan Balz wrote, reflecting on a man he had known for more than two decades.)
Memeorandum has all the buzz.