Friends, Colleagues Remember Tim Russert

Tim Russert Tim Russert

Following the news that NBC journalist and political heavyweight Tim Russert died of a sudden heart attack on Friday, those who knew him best react to the loss of their friend…

“Tim’s passing is a loss not only to his family and many friends, it is a loss to good journalism and to our country. Tim, first and foremost, was devout in his faith and deeply devoted to his family. He loved his country with a passion and became a classic example of the ideal American journalist. Tim had become an important part of our political process. He will be especially missed in this historic presidential election year. Tim Russert was a beacon of quality journalism. At a time when quality journalism is in increasingly short supply, Tim Russert was a leader for what is best in American journalism. He was tough but fair, pulled no punches, played no favorites. As an interviewer, he had few, if any, peers.” – Dan Rather

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“We are heartbroken at the sudden passing of Tim Russert. We have lost a beloved member of our NBC Universal family and the news world has lost one of its finest. The enormity of this loss cannot be overstated. More than a journalist, Tim was a remarkable family man. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife, Maureen, their son, Luke, and Tim’s entire extended family.” – NBC Universal president Jeff Zucker

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“Tim was the best of our profession. He asked the best questions and then he listened for the answer. We became very close friends over the years. He delighted in scooping me and I felt the same way when I scooped him. When you slipped one past ol’ Russert, you felt as though you had hit a home run off the best pitcher in the league. I just loved Tim and I will miss him more than I can say, and my heart goes out to his son, Luke, and his wife, Maureen.” – CBS Washington News Chief and “Face The Nation” anchor Bob Schieffer

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“We were stunned and deeply saddened to hear of the passing today of Tim Russert. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Maureen, his son Luke, his father who we all have come to know as Big Russ, his extended family and all of his many friends and colleagues at NBC who have suffered a tremendous loss. Always true to his proud Buffalo roots, Tim had a love of public service and a dedication to journalism that rightfully earned him the respect and admiration of not only his colleagues but also those of us who had the privilege to go toe to toe with him. In seeking answers to tough questions, he helped inform the American people and make our democracy stronger. We join his friends, fans and loved ones in mourning his loss and celebrating his remarkable contribution to our nation.” – Sen. Hillary Clinton and former President Bill Clinton

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“I am very saddened by Tim Russert’s sudden death. Cindy and I extend our thoughts and prayers to the Russert family as they cope with this shocking loss and remember the life and legacy of a loving father, husband and the preeminent political journalist of his generation. He was truly a great American who loved his family, his friends, his Buffalo Bills, and everything about politics and America. He was just a terrific guy. I was proud to call him a friend, and in the coming days, we will pay tribute to a life whose contributions to us all will long endure.” – Sen. John McCain

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“Laura and I are deeply saddened by the sudden passing of Tim Russert. Those of us who knew and worked with Tim, his many friends, and the millions of Americans who loyally followed his career on the air will all miss him.

As the longest-serving host of the longest-running program in the history of television, he was an institution in both news and politics for more than two decades. Tim was a tough and hardworking newsman. He was always well-informed and thorough in his interviews. And he was as gregarious off the set as he was prepared on it.

Most important, Tim was a proud son and father, and Laura and I offer our deepest sympathies to his wife Maureen, his son Luke, and the entire Russert family. We will keep them in our prayers.” – President George W. Bush

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“The US and the world have a lost a great journalist, interviewer and author. He was an original and will be greatly missed.” – former Vice President Al Gore

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“We all I think have heard the news about Tim Russert. I’ve known Tim Russert since I first spoke at the convention in 2004. He’s somebody who overtime I came to consider not only a journalist but a friend. There wasn’t a better interviewer in TV, not a more thoughtful analyst of our politics and he was also one of the finest men I knew. Somebody who cared about America, cared about the issues, cared about family. I am grief-stricken with the loss and my thoughts and prayers go out to his family. And I hope that even though Tim is irreplaceable that the standard that he set in his professional life and his family life are standards that we all carry with us in our own lives.” -- Sen. Barack Obama

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“No one could see Tim in a room and not smile. He brought so much joy and curiosity and sheer vitality to all our lives. As a journalist, he would set out like a great explorer. You couldn’t wait to see what he discovered every day in the new world. He was a defining American newsman. Love of country, love of family poured through him--onto the screen, into the work, into stories at dinner, into the little chuckle that reminded us ---aren’t we lucky to be here in this big life.” – ABC’s Diane Sawyer

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“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.” – Sen. John Kerry

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“Tim Russert was a great newsman who helped set the standard for political reporting and public affairs programming. His fine work made all of us better and benefited the Nation as a result. Tim was also a great friend to so many of us. But above all, Tim was a man devoted to his family. Our thoughts and prayers are with them and everyone at NBC News at this devastating time.” – David Westin, president of ABC News

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“Tim projected vitality — always excited about the stories he covered and intrigued by the people he interviewed. That’s what made him so good, and his passing so hard to absorb. His competitors — just like his co-workers — held Tim in the highest of regard.” – ABC “World News” anchor Charlie Gibson

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“Tim Russert Was a great competitor and a good friend. I am obviously shocked and dismayed by this news and extend my thoughts and prayers to his son Luke — he was so proud of you — to his wife Maureen and to the rest of his family; especially his beloved father. Tim and I worked together on Catholic causes, and I will greatly miss him.” – ABC political commentator Cokie Roberts

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“He was without any question the most important, the most influential reporter, print or broadcast, in Washington. If he said something, it had resonance.” -- Fox News Sunday’s Chris Wallace

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“Maria and I were deeply saddened to learn about the death of Tim Russert. Tim was an American icon in the world of political journalism who could relate to everybody. His insightful commentary and tough but fair interviews helped millions of Americans better understand our political system. It is hard to imagine a presidential election without Tim and his trademark graphics and questions on “Meet the Press.” American politics and journalism will never be the same without him.

But Tim was not only one of the top journalists of his generation; he was a close friend, a warm and generous person and a wonderful family man. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his wife, Maureen, his son, Luke and his entire family.” – Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger

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“Tim loved everything about politics and journalism — because he believed in it. Every day he brought Washington home to his viewers and made all of us better. My thoughts and prayers are with his family — especially Maureen, Luke and his father Russ.” – ABC Chief Washington Correspondent George Stephanopoulos

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“Tim Russert was a remarkable journalist and an extraordinarily decent human being. He was relentless in his search for truth, and his death is a terrible loss. My heart goes out to his family and friends.” – Anderson Cooper

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“A giant of political coverage. A tremendous loss for the country, which needs the Russert brand of asking tough questions to the powerful.” – Bill Maher

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“There is no one who knew Tim, and that includes millions of Americans who felt they knew him too, who isn’t deeply shocked and saddened by his death. Tim was everyone’s idea of what a journalist should be and he made us proud. He interviewed me just one month ago for his weekly television show and much of our conversation had to do with his love for his father, Russ, and his son, Luke. My heart goes out to his wife, Maureen, and to Luke and Russ.” – Barbara Walters

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“Broadcast journalism lost one of its greats today. Tim Russert was a giant in our field – a standard-bearer of journalistic integrity and ethics. His masterful interviews and round-table discussions are legendary. This is a tragic loss for journalism and for all who were privileged to know him.” – Walter Cronkite

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“Tim Russert was a gentleman and giant, not just in politics and journalism, but in life. And through that life, he gave us all a model worth emulating. With a reasoned voice, a sharp mind and a fair hand, Tim took the measure of every Washington official and all those that sought to be one. He was a great journalist and an even better friend. His passing is a tragic loss for us all, but especially for the family he loved so much. Our thoughts and prayers are with Tim’s wife Maureen and his son Luke.” – Sen. Edward M. Kennedy

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“Tim Russert was so many different things. Tim was a big teddy bear of a guy, but he was also a pit bull of an interviewer. He always held people’s feet to the fire, often using their past words with great effect to reveal flip-flops or hypocrisy. While Tim was incredibly tenacious, he always did his job with great humanity and respect.

Tim was passionate about the political process and was, in many ways, the navigator-in-chief for so many people. Because he was so knowledgeable, he was able to make politics accessible to millions.

Tim gave me my first network break. I was a local reporter at WRC in Washington which shares a building with the NBC Washington bureau. Tim asked me to come to his office one day and told me he admired my work, particularly my coverage of Marion Barry, who was then the mayor of DC. He liked my ‘scrappiness’ and asked if I was interested in becoming the deputy Pentagon correspondent.

He was one of the nicest, most generous colleagues I ever had the pleasure of working with.

I remember when Tim arranged a visit with the Pope when the Today show was in Rome—and Tim was the one behind the scenes making it happen. And I remember he was so full of pride.

He never forgot where he came from. In his heart, he was a kid from Buffalo who made it to the big time—but never got ‘too big for his britches,’ as my mother would say.
I think he used his Dad, Big Russ, to take the temperature of the country. And I remember how he used to call him to ask questions and get feedback.

But Tim really didn’t have to do that because he was the consummate everyman who loved his family - who was so proud of his wife Maureen and his son Luke - and loved the Buffalo Bills, and this country.” – Katie Couric

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“I was stunned and saddened today to hear of the death of Tim Russert. Tim was a force of nature on the airwaves, and it’s hard to believe that great voice has been silenced. His integrity, intelligence, and fairness will be greatly missed, and Sunday mornings will never be the same.” — Nancy Reagan

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