What Would Russert Do?

I was moved by the many, incredible tributes to Tim Russert I watched and read this weekend. The ones from dear friends like Mike Barnicle, Joe Klein, Al Hunt and Judy Woodruff were especially poignant, and the interview that Luke Russert gave Matt Lauer on "The Today Show" this morning was the killer.

But I wanted to share another one from Chuck Todd, political director at NBC, that you may have not seen. It appeared this morning in First Read, which Todd and his team publish each day, informing the political world with analysis and the top news stories.

"Remembering Tim: The three of us here — like so many other folks at NBC and across Washington — idolized Tim. We have a recent memory of him that for us means the world: Tim had Wizards-Cavs playoff tickets, and he invited us to come to the game with him. We leapt at the opportunity. The three of us are avid sports fans, but it was also a chance to hang out with our friend, our leader and our mentor. Watching a game with him was exciting — everyone was shouting at him, thanking him for his work on 'Meet The Press,' asking him who was going to win the Clinton-Obama contest, you name it. Watching him watch the game was a blast, too. He was just so excited to see the Wizards, but also to see LeBron [James, Cavaliers star]. He was one of those good sports fans who appreciated great play. But the highlight of the night was heading to the bar with him. We got to do what everyone this weekend said made Tim seem so real to folks that didn't know him: We got to have a beer with him — actually two. And we just BS'ed with the guy (mostly about hoops, not politics) as if we were buddies for a long time. It's what makes us feel so lucky that we had even a few private moments.The thing with Tim is that everyone in this bureau has similar memories of him.

"WWRD: It doesn't feel right that we have to work today because, frankly, we worked for Tim. We wanted to impress him — give him that nugget that would make him say, 'Wow,' and then immediately trigger an idea in his head for examining something in a way we hadn't thought of yet. So forgive us if we don't seem to have a lot to say. It's never going to be the same. One thing we do know is that What Would Russert Do will be guiding us, and many others as well."