I was stunned to learn that Tim Russert died this afternoon from an apparent heart attack. Though I never knew Tim or met him in person I really came to enjoy watching him on TV. Two months ago I started to Tivo "Meet The Press" as it seemed to catch me up on the political events of the week.
Unlike many political commentators who are painfully biased in their reporting, Tim always struck me as a straight shooter who simply excelled at asking our public servants the tough questions we all had on our minds. I've always had a tough time with personalities who take extreme political views whether they be right wing or left wing stances, but Tim always kept me guessing as to which party he was he was really cheering for. He just seemed incredibly happy to be doing something he genuinly enjoyed.
My favorite memory of Tim was watching him on election nights with his little white "wipie board" explaning to his viewers how the nights election was going. He had an easy way about him and his love of all things political was contagious.
On a personal note, Tim wrote a book called "Big Russ and Me" a story about his father. On a business trip I listened to the entire book and was struck by the reverance in which he held his father. His father was a garbage man and held down three jobs in Buffalo, New York to put food on the table, and Tim talked at length about what that mean to him both as a boy and a grown man. It made me appreciate my own father, the sacrafices that all fathers make for their families and helped me to be a better father myself.
At 58 years old, it is tragic that we lost Tim Russert so soon. Goodbye Tim, thanks for being an honest and ethical reporter in what many view as the scuzzy world of American politics.