Sad, shocking news about Tim Russert, the NBC News correspondent and Meet The Press host who died Friday of a heart attack at 58. Russert was a proud native of Buffalo. N.Y., and boasted that he attended the famous 1969 Woodstock concert "in a Buffalo Bills jersey with a case of beer." Before he went to law school, he was educated by the Jesuits at Canisius High School in Buffalo and remained a big Catholic booster; he had just returned from Italy and a private audience with Pope Benedict XVI days before his sudden death.
Russert had a Randy Quaid quality about him, he always looked like he knew where the fun was even in the middle of a tense election night or a town hall debate. I never interviewed him, unfortunately, but here is somebody who did and even scored one of Russert's old school "white boards" as a souvenir: former Dallas Morning News TV critic Ed Bark, who has two solid posts about Russert over at his site, UncleBarky.com. The first throws to all the tributes pouring in from colleagues and politicians who had worked with Russert over the years (including Barbara Walters, who said, "Somewhere he's saying, 'Oh darn, why couldn't it have happened after the election?'"); the second suggests retired NBC anchor Tom Brokaw, who paid a heartfelt tribute to his colleague on today's show, is the guy to step up to the plate and sub for Russert on Meet The Press throughout the rest of this presidential campaign.