Farewell, Tim Russert
The shocking news came just before 3 pm here this afternoon that Tim Russert, well known political pundit and host of NBC’s Meet The Press had died in his Washington office of an apparent heart attack. He was only 58 years old.
I was a Today Show fan for many, many years before switching over to Good Morning America in the mornings. So I got to watch Tim Russert a lot. I will never forget the fiasco that was the 2000 election. Russert had a white board that he would bring on the show with him. He had Al Gore in one column and George W. Bu$h in the other and he would run the electoral college numbers in every way he could imagine. I was watching the day he made the now famous remark, “It will all come down to Florida, Florida, Florida.” How right he was.
It was Tim Russert that I watched that fateful night in November of 2000 with the rest of a stunned nation as the returns showed a virtual tie. It was also Russert I watched four years later when it was “Ohio, Ohio, Ohio” that was pivotal state. By 2004 he was no longer carrying around his white board. Instead he had fancy schmancy computer tools that allowed him to play his numbers in every way imaginable. In an election that should have belonged to my candidate Howard Dean, I watched Tim all evening with what felt like a stone in my gut as Kerry was defeated.
My passion for politics started late in life. As a Sheriff’s deputy for so many years, I had enough drama with local politics to keep me quite uninterested in national stuff. All of that changed for me in 2000 and Tim Russert was there, feeding me information and fanning that flame that would turn into a passion. I always felt Tim was giving me pretty straight up information. Though he had Democratic roots, he'd become much more centered because he had to play both sides as a moderator. Although he was never my only source, I watched him more than anyone else.
Unlike so many people, my Sunday mornings are not usually filled with politics. Sunday is often a day of unwinding for E and me so I rarely watched the Sunday talking heads. But when I was in the mood for a good Sunday political debate, I spent my time flipping between Tim Russert and George Stephanopoulos. They could always be counted on to provide the best discussions. Tim was like a bulldog when he was interviewing someone of questionable ethics and I loved that.
So it is with a heavy heart that I join the rest of the nation in saying goodbye to Tim Russert. Thanks for helping fan that fire in me, Tim, and for great content. My thoughts are with your family.