For much of the time I worked for House Democratic leaders, Susan Rasky was the chief congressional correspondent for The New York Times. I was a regular source for Susan, talking to her almost every day, and we became good friends over the years.

Susan passed away this week, which is a great loss for everyone who knew her, for the profession of journalism, and for the world. After Susan left the Times, she taught journalism at the University of California where she became a teacher, mentor, adviser, inspiration and friend to so many of her students who practice journalism today.

Susan was an original. She was brash, brilliant, passionate, funny, idealistic, professional and fearless in her reporting. I usually liked her stories, but not always, when they were directed against the Democratic leaders who were my bosses. Though Susan was always fair and careful to get her facts straight.

She was a great reporter, a great lady and a great friend. I have no doubt that somewhere in heaven today, Susan is parading around with her pen and notepad looking for Tip O'Neill and asking: "Mr. Speaker, did I get that story right? Isn't there something you didn't tell me? I've got a deadline! Don't you have something for my readers?"

Susan was one of a kind, and like so many people who knew her, I miss her.