I had the opportunity to meet him once eight years ago, while I was working for a tiny little daily newspaper in the upstate of South Carolina. Arizona senator John McCain was being interviewed at Clemson University by Chris Matthews for the latter’s MSNBC show, “Hardball.” Russert was in attendance.
Clemson was part of my county-wide beat, and for the few days prior to the interview, I had been working on a few stories about the youth vote in the upcoming 2000 Republican primary. When I was introduced to Russert, seen above with son Luke at his first birthday party, he was kind enough upon hearing my name to say that he had enjoyed the pieces I had written. I was on cloud nine — the host of Meet the Press had actually read something I’d put together!
Over and beyond that intangible congenial quality he had about him, Tim Russert was a classic television journalist, one of the last few of a dying breed. Sure, he had opinions and, sure, those opinions occasionally presented themselves, but he was always fair, always tough, and always thought of his viewers when conducting interviews.
Tim Russert, dead at 58. He will be missed.