I will miss Tim Russert because he's such a rare moderator and journalist.I can think of a few interviews when I thought he didn't play fair, square and balanced. I may not have leaped for joy over his interview with President Bush or his superfluous talk with Bill Clinton. Mostly, Tim was like a dog gnawing on a bone who kept chewing and chewing until he broke through and got to the marrow. I loved him for that.
I know Tim's deep fondness for the NFL's Buffalo Bills. He wished them to make it to the playoffs every year and was often disappointed. Forgive me, Tim, for not sticking with a football analogy but you were more of a pitcher than a quarterback.
You did not throw softballs nor did you lob in change-ups to fool the batter. You tossed a hardball pitch every time. But what I loved about you is that your goal was not to strike out the batter and humiliate him but to give the interviewee in the batter's box every opportunity to slam the ball out of the park.
You wanted your guest to speak the truth, expose their hearts and not let them dance around the incoming pitch. The ball had to be hit in the name of getting to the truth.
Did you have your favorites? Were you harder on conservatives than on liberals? Maybe . . . at times. But you rarely went soft on the softees, You made them stand up for what they believe.
Now we have a presidential election before us. What's it going to be like without Tim Russert? I'll miss your hard piercing look into the eyes of your guest that went along with the kindness that exuded from the rest of your demeanor. You had it down and I could never get enough.
If I wanted to know what McCain is made of or what Obama really believes, it was Tim Russert who was the man for the job. You'll be missed in the months leading up to the November '08 elections.
I send my thoughts and my prayers to your family . . . especially your Dad who's lost such a special son whom he can be proud of. Though I was hardly able to watch you on Meet the Press since I was off to work, I always found a way to discover that you had to say that morning.
Sunday mornings with a cup of hot coffee and a newspaper will never be the same without the aroma of Tim Russert's dogged questions to get at the truth lying deep within the heart and soul of the person you interviewed.
Thank you, Tim for some incredible years showing this world what journalism is all about.