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SPECIAL: A Tribute to Tim Russert

Season 3, Ep. 19

Today, on what would have been his 70th birthday, we pay tribute to the late, great Tim Russert - Moderator of Meet the Press and NBC News Washington Bureau Chief.

Unlike many in the public eye - Tim was the same guy off camera as he was on. He was tough, but fair, - always quick with a joke and above all he was forever humbled by his success and the opportunities afforded the son of a sanitation worker from South Buffalo.

“What a country?” Tim would often marvel - he lived by the words of the pious Saint Luke - “To whom much has been given, much will be required.”

Tim believed it was his responsibility as a journalist to hold our leaders accountable - regardless of party. To ask tough, but fair questions in pursuit of the truth.

A lawyer by training, a Meet the Press interview was like a public deposition. He didn’t suffer fools and he wrote his questions so that anything short of a complete and honest answer would be met with a series of increasingly pointed follow ups. When he believed a public official was shading the truth – or worse – Tim would lean across the table and remind them, with purpose: "Senator, Madame Secretary, Mr. President – Words Matter."

That is his legacy - and for those of us who want to honor him, we must try our best to continue that mission.

So today - on what would have been his 70th birthday - we honor Tim Russert by playing his 2002 Commencement Address at the University of Massachusetts Boston.

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