When I first heard this afternoon that Tim Russert had died, I didn't believe it. I'm not sure I do yet. I didn't know him personally, of course, but as I've thought about him in the last few hours I've realized that there is probably no one outside my family with whom I've spent more hours on Sunday mornings over the years. There is certainly no one whose judgment in all things political I trust more.
I remember watching NBC's coverage of that election night back in 2000 when Tim held up the now-famous dry-erase board on which he'd written "Florida" three times. Others wanted to switch the station and see what CNN or Fox was saying, but I kept saying as the night went on that whatever happened, Russert would know it first. Similarly, watching NBC's coverage of the North Carolina and Indiana primaries on 6 May, when I heard Russert say "We now know who the Democratic nominee will be," I got (happy) tears in my eyes, because I knew he was careful enough not to make a statement like that if he wasn't sure it would hold water.
Watching Russert's "Meet the Press" has long been an integral part of my Sunday mornings. Always tenacious, but always fair, Tim's interviews and his journalism were a credit to his network, to his profession, and to the country. His faith, his love and devotion to family, friends and colleagues are legendary, and the encomiums being delivered to him this evening are a testament to the wide swath he cut across the spectrum of American life.
My thoughts and prayers are with Tim's family and colleagues tonight.
Godspeed, Mr. Russert, and thank you. Sunday mornings and election nights will never be the same.