Sunday, June 15, 2008

Tim Russert

The June 15 "Meet the Press" was a tribute to Tim Russert, who died on June 13. Panelists led by Tom Brokaw discussed the life of Russert in the foreground, while Russert's empty chair from the set was in the background.

In an article in the New York times on June 16 titled --Recalling Russert as Political Operative in New York--, one has the text

Mr. Russert worked in the early 1980s as a counselor to Mario M. Cuomo, the Queens Democrat who had just been elected governor of New York; I was covering the new administration for The Daily News. Albany was a political roughhouse, and all the more so with a hard-driving new administration with big goals for Mr. Cuomo, working in what was a fiercely competitive media atmosphere.


Mr. Russert, who had previously worked [for] Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan of New York — where a well-timed leak of damaging information by Mr. Russert about a potential Moynihan foe knocked the opponent out of the race — at first seemed taken aback by the ferocity of this battlefield. One of his earliest lessons came when one of Albany’s toughest reporters walked into his refuge of an office — with its 20-foot ceiling and view down State Street toward the Hudson River — and accused Mr. Russert of leaking a story to a competitor as a way of currying favor with a rival newspaper. (Mr. Russert denied doing any such thing, for what that’s worth).

“If you want to play hardball, Russert, we can play hardball,” this reporter said, proceeding to promise, should he do this again, to — well, let us just say to perform a bit of surgery on Mr. Russert that he no doubt would have found unpleasant. In all the years since, I have never seen him look quite so terrified.

IPBiz notes that Tim Russert was a law school grad (Cleveland State).

See also

Russert lapses on "Meet the Press" on 24 Feb 08 [Note that Doris Kearns Goodwin was a panelist on June 15, and that there was a clip of Goodwin popping out of a cake during Russert's 50th birthday party.]

Mike Barnicle was also on the June 15 tribute. Barnicle, who had been a speechwriter for Robert Kennedy, John Tunney, Edmund Muskie, and Sargent Shriver , was forced to resign in 1998 from the Boston Globe amid questions about the sources of two of his columns.

As noted in the June 15 tribute, Russert was loyal to his friends, and a continuing cheerleader for Buffalo, New York.

See also Tribute in Russert's studio

See also Tim Russert warmly remembered on 'Meet the Press'

See also Bill Kristol's Big Tim, which included the line from Moynihan to Russert:

“What they know, you can learn. What you know, they can’t learn.”

Kristol also noted:

I met Tim in the summer of 1976 during Pat Moynihan’s primary election campaign for the Senate. Tim had just graduated from law school, and was dispatched by the Democratic boss of Buffalo, Joe Crangle, to see what was going on at Moynihan campaign headquarters in Manhattan.

Tim showed up one day, looked around, and took a few of us out for a beer. It took me about two minutes of conversation to realize that Tim was far savvier about politics — especially New York Democratic politics — than we at headquarters were, but he was polite and pretended to listen to our observations. In fact, as Tim told me later, he quickly concluded that most of us had no idea what we were doing — which was certainly the case.


In a city consumed by relationships and networking, Tim was known for his friendships and generosity.


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