By now you’ve no doubt heard that Tim Russert, Washington Bureau Chief for NBC and host of Meet the Press, collapsed in his office and died this afternoon. I’ve been watching his colleagues on MSNBC talk about him for several hours now, and like everyone else, they are shocked because Russert always seemed so full of life.
Russert was a constant presence during the primary campaign season, and it was clear that he reveled in it. On a personal level, even when it began to be clear that there was no way that Barack Obama, who I support, could mathematically lose the nomination, I still refused to be convinced. It wasn’t until Russert came said on a primary night a few weeks ago, “it’s over,” that I finally believed it was true. That was the weight his analysis carried for me.
And who can forget that election night in 2000 when chaos reigned. All the computers and other high-tech gadgetry at the networks couldn’t make sense of it. Then Russert broke out the now famous whiteboard, on which he had written three words:
America finally understood what was happening that night because Russert broke it down for us. Of course he was right about Florida, as he was about so many things in politics.
Tim Russert was only 58 years old. He is survived by his wife, his son, and his father Big Russ, who Tim made famous in a bestselling book. My condolences to his family and friends, and his colleagues at NBC.