I was sitting in the hotel bar in Washington DC when I heard the news of Tim Russert's death. It came as a sudden shock. This will sound strange but I felt a sense of loss when I heard the news. Despite having no personal relationship with him, I recognized a unique bond with him simply by watching his show and by sharing his love of politics. I have always respected and admired him for his work on Meet the Press. He was an exceptional interviewer. He was tough but fair and he respected his guests. In fact, I would bet that very few other journalists are thought of as highly among both sides of the political spectrum.
My first and only encounter with Russert occurred several years ago at a breakfast in Washington. My friend CJ and I were attending a political conference and were running late for the breakfast portion. When we arrived, we noticed two empty seats at the front of the room and sat down. A few minutes later Tim Russert and Ted Koppel walk up and inform us that we were sitting in their seats. It was a little embarrassing having to stand back up in front of the packed room and walk to the back of the room. But both Russert and Koppel were very gracious about it and I have liked him ever since.
As the political campaigns continue to drag on, I am sad that Tim Russert will not be a part of it. His wisdom and insight into the elections will be surely missed.