I was totally shocked with the news of Tim Russert's passing as everyone was. A heart attack at 58...we are never promised tomorrow.
He was truly a class act. If you didn't know his personal politics were pretty liberal, you would never have guessed it by watching Meet the Press. He was the epitome of what journalism should be about. He was hard on both sides equally. He didn't give anyone a break, no matter his personal beliefs on the issue. Every politician knew that an hour on his show could either make you or break you.
When I worked at MSNBC in '03, one of my jobs was to maintain contacts in the conservative circles of DC so we could have a good pool of guests. That involved going down from NYC to DC about once a month or so. When I did, I worked out of the NBC office in DC which is where Russert worked. I had the privilege of meeting him several times and seeing him in his "zone." He always had a smile on his face and was very easy to be around, unlike a few other MSNBC hosts who worked in DC.
This Presidential campaign won't be the same without him. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family.