Tim Russert

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Person.png Tim Russert  Rdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
(journalist, Clinton body count?)
Tim Russert (cropped).jpg
BornMay 7, 1950
DiedJune 13, 2008 (Age 58)
Cause of death
heart attack
Alma materJohn Carroll University, Cleveland-Marshall College of Law
ChildrenLuke Russert
SpouseMaureen Orth
Victim ofpremature death
US corporate journalist who made 2008 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton stumble. Died same year of heart attack, age 58.

Employment.png Host of Meet the Press

In office
1991 - June 13, 2008

Timothy John Russert was an American television journalist and lawyer. Until Russert’s surprising and untimely death at age 58, Meet the Press was the highest rated Sunday morning talk show.

He moderated several of the candidate debates in the year before the 2008 Presidential election, and was criticized by Clinton supporters for asking her more difficult questions than her opponents, putting her on the back foot several times. Russert died unexpectedly of a heart attack on June 13, 2008 while preparing a program in his office.[1]


He appeared for more than 16 years as the longest-serving moderator of NBC's Meet the Press, mostly consisting of talks with Beltway insiders. He was a senior vice president at NBC News, Washington bureau chief and also hosted an eponymous CNBC/MSNBC weekend interview program.

Russert covered several presidential elections, and he presented the NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey on the NBC Nightly News during the 2008 U.S. presidential election. Time magazine included Russert in its list of the 100 most influential people in the world in 2008.[2] Russert was posthumously revealed as a 30-year source for syndicated columnist Robert Novak.[3]

He became immensely wealthy for his work, like many of his media colleagues. Russert’s 6,220-square-foot vacation home on Nantucket Island, for instance, was valued at $7.2 million in 2008.[4]

2003 Iraq war

February, 26 2008: Democratic Debate in Cleveland. Russert puts Hillary Clinton on the spot by rattling off several instances in which she had previously supported the North American Free Trade Agreement, despite campaigning in Ohio on an anti-NAFTA platform.

During the run-up to the war, Russert, along with the rest of the media, provided a platform for Vice President Dick Cheney and others to present their claims about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction without seriously calling any of them into question.

On March 16, 2003, only days before the US-led invasion of Iraq, Russert virtually handed his program over to Cheney, providing the latter with a propaganda opportunity in front of a large national audience, much of it skeptical about the administration’s claims. Russert’s particular role here was to politely raise certain doubts and allow Cheney to allay them.[5]

In Bill Moyers’ documentary, Buying the War, Russert claims that he didn’t raise sufficient doubts about what Cheney and others were telling him because critics and skeptics weren’t contacting him. He tells Moyers: "To this day, I wish my phone had rung, or I had access to them."[5]

Russert managed to be somewhat critical of Richard Perle. Patrick J. Buchanan, wrote on March 24, 2003 in the American Conservative magazine right after the US invaded Iraq[6].

In a rare moment in U.S. journalism, Tim Russert put this question directly to Richard Perle: “Can you assure American viewers … that we’re in this situation against Saddam Hussein and his removal for American security interests? And what would be the link in terms of Israel?” Suddenly, the Israeli connection is on the table, and the War Party is not amused. Finding themselves in an unanticipated firefight, our neoconservative friends are doing what comes naturally, seeking student deferments from political combat by claiming the status of a persecuted minority group. People who claim to be writing the foreign policy of the world superpower, one would think, would be a little more manly in the schoolyard of politics. Not so.

2008 presidential debate

During the 2008 Presidential election, Russert on several occasions put presidential candidate Hillary Clinton on the spot.

On Oct. 30 2007, Russert moderated a Democratic debate widely perceived as a stumble for Clinton. Russert was furiously criticized by Clinton supporters for what some perceived as disproportionately tough questioning of Democratic presidential contender Hillary Clinton,[7] in what started her slide into defeat. Among the questions, Russert had asked Clinton, but not Obama, to provide the name of the new Russian President (Dmitry Medvedev).[7]

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