NBC News Washington Bureau Chief Tim Russert died suddenly today at age 58. He was the host of Meet the Press since 1991, and he brought civility and a great deal of knowledge to Sunday morning. I was stunned to read about his death, and I called Jim to tell him.
We feel so bad for the country that has lost a wise voice, someone who didn't scream or argue the news at us. He seemed so enthusiastic about this election year, first the Democratic race, and now the excitement of the race between Barack Obama and John McCain.
Tim Russert made us care about his family, even though we never met them. He wrote Big Russ & Me about his relationship with his father. And then two years ago, he wrote Wisdom of Our Fathers. It's almost ironic that it was a Father's Day book, and Tim Russert did a publicity tour for that book prior to Father's Day in 2006. Now, he's gone just before that day.
On June 21, 2006, I did a book review of Wisdom of Our Fathers, but the family man in Tim Russert would probably appreciate that he brought back memories of my own father. He said his book Big Russ & Me encouraged so many people to talk about their relationships with their fathers. That book contained letters telling about those relationships.
Jim and I are sorry for Tim Russert's family - his father, Big Russ, his son, Luke, and his wife. As often as he talked of them with pride on TV, we know how much he loved them. He loved his family, and talked of them and his background, coming from a working class community in Buffalo.
And, we're sorry for the American people. Keith Olbermann has been asking tonight, how will we get answers in the future. I don't know. I don't know who is out there who loved politics, and could share that love, enthusiasm and his historical knowledge with all of us.
Tim Russert - 1950-2008
“Now cracks a noble heart. Good-night sweet prince, And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.” William Shakespeare.