The voters of the U.S. are about to choose new leadership for the world's most important nation at a time when we are beset with wars, economic failures and confoundedly complicated social issues. Every Sunday, more than 4 million Americans tune in to Meet the Press seeking help in trying to understand the issues and the candidates. They choose that program because Tim Russert is among the most astute, discerning and relentless pursuers of truth in the nation, and has been for years.
Most candidates are not eager to present themselves to Tim's incisive scrutiny, which is fed by his prodigious study and preparation. But they have little choice: appearing on Meet the Press today is as vital to a serious candidate as being properly registered to vote.
Tim's influence can be measured by the size of his audience; the fact that his employer, NBC, reaps enormous monetary rewards from his popularity; and the long list of honors he has received from professional and academic institutions as one of America's most respected journalists and news analysts. His extraordinary success is more than enough to make him respected, but he adds to that a genuineness as a human being that makes him as easy to like as he is to admire. The 57-year-old son of a hardworking sanitation worker in Buffalo, N.Y. a middle-class, polyglot, multiethnic community where people work hard, go to church or synagogue, love a good meal and a good ball game even more he was reverential regarding his father, whom he has made famous with his best-selling book Big Russ and Me. And he was as devoted to his wife of almost 25 years, Maureen Orth, a Vanity Fair journalist and author, as he was to his 22-year-old son Luke, providing Luke with the same kind of profound love that was given to Tim by his dad.
Tim never forgot where he came from. He never let us forget either, and we love it!
Cuomo is a three-term governor of New York
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