I just talked to Doris Kearns Goodwin, who knew Tim Russert for about a decade and who was a frequent guest of his on Meet the Press.
“I feel so bad,” she told me. “He was such a good friend.
“Somebody just called from the television studio and said have you heard the horrible news about Tim and I thought he must have been in a plane crash. That he had a heart attack and just died. It’s incomprehensible.
“He’s a giant and he’s the best. I loved him.”
“The most extraordinary thing about him was that he just had such unparalleled empathy for whoever he was talking with,” she said. “You never had the feeling he was trying to get somebody — he just wanted to get them to talk and wanted to get the record straight and his emotional self was as strong as his intellect. As a journalist there was such a strength of his person who everyone who knew him knew. He was just beloved.
“I can’t imagine what the news bureau is going through down there. I heard it is just wailing. He was just a giant of a person he was such a good friend.”