Tuesday, June 17, 2008

on Tim Russert....

I had the pleasure of meeting him once, a very brief opportunity but one I enjoyed.

It was about four years ago. I was attending a VFW conference in Washington and Russert was being honored by the organization as Journalist of the Year. I was a huge fan and the opportuity to hear him speak -- and maybe get a chance to say hello -- was something I wasn't about to pass up.

When he took the stage to accept the award, he told the crowdhow honored and humbled he was to receive it. The first thought was sure...I mean, this guy probably had a roomful of plaques.

Russert told the gathering that although he never served in the military, "Big Russ" had and was a proud member of the VFW. He said when he told his father that he was going to be honored with the Journalist of the Year award by the VFW, Big Russ was very proud. That an organization that he was a member of was recognizing his son was indeed a proud moment. And it was his father's pride that made this particular award so very special for him.

As I watched the TV shows on Sunday paying tribute to Russert, there was a lot said about the relationship between him and his father. He had written several books on the subject -- one of which I bought and gave to my own father as a birthday present.

I got the chance to meet Russert after the event. I introduce myself and watched as the award recipient immediately slip into journalist mode -- and then came the questions. He was curious why a political reporter from Connecticut had come to Washington for a VFW convention. He wanted to know what else was going on that he wasn't aware of -- and why he wasn't aware of it.

During those tributes this past weekend, those who knew him and worked with him spoke of his work ethic. He was always prepared, always doing his homework -- always asking questions.

I assured him there was nothing else. My reason for being there was VFW-related, not political. We then talked politics. He wanted to know what I knew about John Rowland, Joe Lieberman, Rob Simmons. He was working....doing his homework. For those brief moments, Russert made me a contemporary, a colleague. It felt pretty good.

When we shook hands at the end, he leaned in -- one last question on his mind. He looked me in the eye, flashed that famous grin and asked one more time if I was sure there was nothing else going on at the convention that I wasn't sharing.

He was good....


Blogger mccommas said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

9:44 PM  
Blogger mccommas said...

Interestingly an interview with Tim Russert went ignored when it was the media's boy that got hammered by Russert's tough but fair questions.

Russert interviewed in 2004 Howard Dean and Dean fell apart over his many flip flops. But was it in the papers the next day?


Just another one of those things thats makes me go hmmmmm....


9:46 PM  

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