Friday, June 13, 2008

Tim Russert

Word of the passing of Tim Russert, NBC News Washington bureau chief and host of "Meet the Press" is sad indeed. Sad because Russert appeared to so enjoy the twists and turns of this year's presidential contest, a contest whose end he will not get to enjoy from this earthly plane.

Your blogstress didn't know Tim Russert, but on the night of the New Hampshire primary, she enjoyed a rather charmed encounter with him. In the bar of the Radisson in Manchester, where tout le monde was eating dinner that night, I was standing at the bar awaiting takeout when Russert walked in with Mike Barnicle. The days and hours leading up to polling day had been quite the ride. Hillary was inevitable, then was destined to lose, according to pundits and pollsters. By the day of the primary, word began circulating that she might pull it off.

Making small talk, I asked Russert how it was looking to him. (The polls had yet to close.) Standing next to me, he unrolled a handful of papers onto the bar. They contained the network's own exits. He went through them with me, exuding the glee of an astonished kid. I just happened to be the bystander in the right spot -- next to a fellow who was looking to share his sense of surprise.

The guy loved his work.

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2 comments:

S.W. Anderson said...

What a nice recollection to have and share. Russert was one of those very fortunate individuals who found the perfect groove for himself and thoroughly enjoyed what he was doing.

Also, wasn't the rainbow after his memorial something?

rjgelfa said...

Tim was an icon of journalistic professionalism. His trademark was research, not a bunch of flunky kids handing him text, but on his own studying for interviews. Many of the Sunday morning guests from both parties said that not being prepared for a Russert interview was a major mistake.

Outside of D.C. it may not have been know what a great benefactor of the community Tim was. He worked closely with the church in support of the local boys and girls clubs. Not only did he solicit the support of others, but he was the first to reach out.

Tim ran the NBC Washington Bureau. He was not just a Sunday morning host of polical corespondent. He guided the careers of others. Maybe something he learned in his early days working for Pat Moynahan.