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Political notes from Free Press staff writers Terri Hallenbeck, Sam Hemingway and Nancy Remsen



Tim Russert dead at 58

For those of you who are political talk show junkies, some sad news:

Tim Russert, the Washington bureau chief of NBC News and the host of the program "Meet the Press," has died of a coronary embolism at the age of 58, NBC has confirmed.

He gave plenty a politician a hard time, including former Gov. Howard Dean. The Washington Post's Howard Kurtz wrote in 2003 that on a June 22 show, Dean's allegedly poor performance elicited a barrage of "negative commentary" from the media.

Dean issued this statement late Friday:
"Today we lost one of the true giants of American journalism and a
tremendous public servant.
Tim Russert will be remembered for many things. A
committed family man, devout Catholic, devout sports fan, author, mentor.
A tough interviewer, Tim delivered the news with authority, in
a plain-spoken way that made the great issues of our day accessible to
His love of politics and our country came through in his
relentless pursuit of the truth and in the quality of his work as a journalist.

On this sad day, our thoughts and prayers are with his family
and loved ones."

From the Associated Press:

WASHINGTON (AP) — Tim Russert, who pointedly but politely questioned
hundreds of the powerful and influential as moderator of NBC’s “Meet the Press,”
died Friday of an apparent heart attack. (The New York Times reports that it was
instead a coronary embolism.)
The network’s Washington bureau chief was 58.
In addition to his weekly program, Russert made periodic
appearances on the network’s other news shows, was moderator for numerous
political debates and wrote two best-selling books.
NBC interrupted its regular programming to announce Russert’s
death, and in the ensuing moments, familiar faces such as Tom Brokaw, Andrea
Mitchell and Brian Williams took turns mourning his loss.
Williams called him “aggressively unfancy.”
Russert, of Buffalo, N.Y., took the helm of the Sunday news
show in December 1991 and turned it into the nation’s most widely watched
program of its type. His signature trait there was an unrelenting style of
questioning that made some politicians reluctant to appear, yet confident that
they could claim extra credibility if they survived his grilling intact.

- Terri Hallenbeck

Huge loss to America!
And his family!

Russert really did have his finger on the pulse of politics.

He was tough, wanted his questions answered, but was fair!
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