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Live-Blogging Russert Memorial


Above: Maureen Orth
3:32 pm: Dan Rather…”Tim was all about heart … He fought the good fight, finished the race, kept the faith. … So much is said about Tim as a professional … Not enough was said about him as a person and a man. Tremendous character and never forgot his roots in Buffalo and never forgot his faith and his family. … Washington, D.C. will never be the same without Tim.”


3:35pm: Keith Olbermann: “How much character is there in that young man [Luke]? And how much of it was brought to him by Tim and his mother.” Olbermann gets choked up.


3:44pm: David Gregory: “Tim had great purpose … Tim had a sense of purpose about how to go about living his life. … I found myself sitting there, thinking about what kind of life am I leading? Am I living up to the purpose of my life? … I think Luke was instrumental in having Sen. McCain and Obama sitting next to each other.”

3:46: Howard Dean: “The thing I remembered most about Tim Russert … he was very open about what we shared in common — two kid sons in the same class, but not in the same schools, and we used to compared their escapades. … I thought he asked me one unfair question in five years.”

3:49: Gregory: “He was like an old fashioned Irish pol, who took care of his people and protected his territory.”


Seen in audience: Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Bob Woodruff, Dan Rather, Madeleine Albright, Huma Abedin, Bob Woodward, Michelle Norris, David Gregory.

Excerpt from Memorial Service program: “Tim made so many people feel as if they were part of our family. You have all made the shock of his death so much easier to bear.” All our love, Maureen and Luke


>Tom Brokaw: “This is a celebration and we’re going to do it Irish style: There will be some tears, some laughs and the occasional truth.” Says the largest contingency in the room is “Those who think they should be his successor on ‘Meet the Press.’”

Big Russ is not there, but watching from Buffalo. Brokaw addresses him directly, pulls out a mug given to him by Big Russ and pours a Rolling Rock into it that he grabbed from Russert’s fridge:


>Betsy Fischer says what she’s learned sinc Russert’s passing: “There’s a nation mourning the loss of a great man and an extraordinary journalist. There are millions who feel they’ve losted a trusted friend. There’s a news division that feels like we’ve lost our soul, our moral compass, our glue. There’s a son, your son, that has comforted us and lifted us up with his strength. He is your true legacy and you’d be so proud of him as you always, always are.”


Fischer: “In the seventeen years I’ve had the great honor of working with you and learning from you, you have never once steered me wrong.”

Sister Lucille Socciarelli:


“Tim Russert stands hands and shoulders above all students I have ever been blessed to have taught. … His snowbalsl flew the hardest and went the furthest.” “You’re in Heaven now, Tim, where every day is ‘Meet the Press.’ Welcome home.”


Al Hunt: “He’s watching this with a little awe, some pleasure and some raw amusement.”

“To be as great as Tim was, you needed a healthy ego, a good sense of himself, but he always marvelled that he got Maureen Orth to fall in love with him.”

He calls Luke: “The most memorable baby in almost 2,000 years.”

Tim made politics, “informative, entertaining and compelling.”

He had the “instincts of Ted Williams and the competitiveness of Michael Jordan.”

“None of us had a more devoted friend than Timothy J. Russert. Whenever you needed help he was there. Our older son is disabled. An essential figure in his life has been Tim, sending him hats and notes, calling him when he got back from school last month, periodicialy bringing a welcome exuberance to his life.”

Hunt address Maureen and Luke: “I hope it provides comfort in knowing that millions and millions from around the world — from the most powerful to all of those whose Sunday’s mornings revolved aroudn Tim Russert’s ‘Meet the Press’ to the many children and those in need who he was always there for, that they love him, they will miss him and always will remember him. We shall not see his like again.”


Mario Cuomo:

Cuomo says that Russert believed that politics could be beautiful if done right.

TVNewser also live-blogging.

MSNBC continues to have audio problems.

Cuomo: “It’s not enough to think of him as a great journalist. How would that explain the tremendous outburst of deep sadness? .. The tears shed by millions of people who knew him or felt that they knew him? … It’s not because he was just a great journalist. … They loved his genuineness, his integrity. … They loved his profound devotion to his beautiful, talented wife Maureen. To Luke, who already in his early manhood has started to reflect his father’s wonderful gifts. … He regarded a day spent without real enthusiasm as a sadly lost opportunity. … We have lost the benefit of Tim’s political wisdom at a time when we need it most.”


I’m Mike Barnicle. I’m the head of Luke Russert‘s security detail.

“A man without envy, Tim took pride in your success, in your accomplishments.”

“I see the absolute joy in the life God gave him. … He was loved by his wife, his son, his friends and a huge slice of this country of ours. He was a boy of summer. He met his wife on a summer day. His son was born in summer. And so it is that we blow him a kiss goodbye on a soft summer evening, this sweetheart of a man who always left us smiling.”


Maria Shriver:

“I lost my heart to Timmy Russert the day I met him. … I remember the day I showed up to NBC news, I had been fired two days earlier by CBS news. That’s another story…Tim came up to me… and said .. Look, I was also educated by the nuns. I was educated by the Jesuits. …There aren’t that many of us here in this building. But if we stick together, we’ll be just fine.”

“Tim loved his life and he loved life. … He loved helping people. He loved helping people who worked for him. He loved helping strangers. … With that famous Russert radar, he knew exactly who needed help.”

“Tim was family and his family is our family. … Tim always made sure that I felt as if I were still a part of the NBC family.”

“He always made me comfortable and I know that every person in this room can relate to that. … Here we are feeling anything but comfortable, feeling lost, feeling sad, not understanding why we’re here and Tim isn’t.”

“Having lived through more than a few losses that define understanding, I’ve realized that asking ‘Why?’ doesn’t help. The only thing that does help is leaning on your friends and leaning on your family, opening your heart, crying, and keeping your loved one alive in your heart and alive in your stories. And it helps to have faith like Tim. All of us here were meant to witness Tim’s life. We were meant to be touched by it, we were meant to be touched by his humor, his love, his faith, his idealism, his passion and most of all, his compassion. Tim Russert had a larger than normal heart. Maybe because we were all occupying space in it.”

“Maureen and Luke I’d like to thank you for sharing Tim with us and with everybody in our coutnry. You were the love of his life.”


Brian Williams:

“I’m Brian Williams and for the longest time I thought that Tim’s full name was ‘Washington bureau chief and moderator of ‘Meet the Press.’”

Williams reports Tim’s latest moments. “His last words happened to be ‘What’s happening?’ He was greeting our Washington bureau chief supervisor Candice Harrington. He had gone downstairs to record his voice in a sound narration booth. He turned the corner to greet Candace, said ‘What’s happening?’ and never made another sound. Fitting, because he was all about what was happening.”

“He had every gift but length of years.”

“What happened here is that our Maker has taken our partner and brought him back home.”


“His capacity to transmit his cheerful strength of others, reach out to people, pick up their emotions, put himself in their shoes, inspire their trust…his boyish sense of wonder…his death has produced an outpouring of emotion across this land.”


Luke Russert:

“For Tim Russert, his glass was always half full. I’ve never met anybody filled with so much optimism, who not only loved the good parts of life but also the challenges, the ability of the human spirit to sustain tragedy always interested my father. He firmly believed that with faith, friends and a little folly, anybody could withstand anything.”

“All of you were such a source of support for our family.”

“He had a great time living and he’s no doubt having the time of his life in Heaven. I ask you, this Sunday, to imagine a ‘Meet the Press’ special edition, live from inside St. Peter’s gate. Maybe Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton will be on for the full hour, debating….We could even have Teddy Roosevelt on for the full hour talking about hte need for a third party.”

“I love you Dad and, in his words, let us all ‘Go get ‘em!’”

Standing ovation for Luke:



Luke’s uncle — “Uncle Tony” — plays “Born to Run,” by Bruce Springsteen:




Bruce Springsteen:

“A memory I had of Tim, was uh, early in the morning, we were playing on the Today show, which is a little early for rock musicians … I did what I ususally do, I was looking in the faces along the first row…I always look for that face that’s being enlivened…as I scanned the front row …there was a guy in a crisp white shirt and a tie and it was Tim. He had on that big Irish smile that hid absolutely nothing and it was beaming like the rising sun. I remember thinking, ‘Oh my God! That’s Tim Russert at this hour of the morning’ And I knew that given his day job he had more important things to do so we were always flattered and honored to have Tim as part of our E Street band community and it’s funny that we’re playing that song. Tim had a real belief in that promised land, in the American idea and there was the passion you heard behind all those tough questions on Sunday morning.”

“He believed in the joy and duty of honesty of service. That’s his legacy for politicians, journalists and rock musicians too.”

“I want to send this out to Tim. Luke, this is for your pop.”


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