The tributes are pouring in for Tim Russert, the NBC News Washington bureau chief and "Meet the Press" moderator who collapsed and died of an apparent heart attack this afternoon.
And those from the political world include the presidential candidates, whose every up and down he had been chronicling for viewers.
From presumptive Republican nominee John McCain: "I am very saddened by Tim Russert's sudden death. Cindy and I extend our thoughts and prayers to the Russert family as they cope with this shocking loss and remember the life and legacy of a loving father, husband and the preeminent political journalist of his generation. He was truly a great American who loved his family, his friends, his Buffalo Bills, and everything about politics and America. He was just a terrific guy. I was proud to call him a friend, and in the coming days, we will pay tribute to a life whose contributions to us all will long endure."
Democrat Barack Obama told reporters: "I’ve known Tim Russert since I first spoke at the convention in 2004. He’s somebody who, over time, I came to consider not only a journalist but a friend. There wasn’t a better interviewer in TV, not a more thoughtful analyst of our politics, and he was also one of the finest men I knew. Somebody who cared about America, cared about the issues, cared about family. I am grief-stricken with the loss and my thoughts and prayers go out to his family. And I hope that, even though Tim is irreplaceable, that the standard that he set in his professional life and his family life are standards that we all carry with us in our own lives.”
From Hillary Clinton and former president Bill Clinton: "We were stunned and deeply saddened to hear of the passing today of Tim Russert. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Maureen, his son Luke, his father who we all have come to know as Big Russ, his extended family and all of his many friends and colleagues at NBC who have suffered a tremendous loss. Always true to his proud Buffalo roots, Tim had a love of public service and a dedication to journalism that rightfully earned him the respect and admiration of not only his colleagues but also those of us who had the privilege to go toe to toe with him. In seeking answers to tough questions, he helped inform the American people and make our democracy stronger. We join his friends, fans and loved ones in mourning his loss and celebrating his remarkable contribution to our nation."
The Associated Press reported President George W. Bush's statement on Russert:
"Laura and I are deeply saddened by the sudden passing of Tim Russert. Those of us who knew and worked with Tim, his many friends, and the millions of Americans who loyally followed his career on the air will all miss him.
"As the longest-serving host of the longest-running program in the history of television, he was an institution in both news and politics for more than two decades. Tim was a tough and hardworking newsman. He was always well-informed and thorough in his interviews. And he was as gregarious off the set as he was prepared on it.
"Most important, Tim was a proud son and father, and Laura and I offer our deepest sympathies to his wife Maureen, his son Luke, and the entire Russert family. We will keep them in our prayers."
Senator Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts added his condolences:
"Tim Russert was a gentleman and giant, not just in politics and journalism, but in life. And through that life, he gave us all a model worth emulating. With a reasoned voice, a sharp mind and a fair hand, Tim took the measure of every Washington official and all those that sought to be one. He was a great journalist and an even better friend. His passing is a tragic loss for us all, but especially for the family he loved so much. Our thoughts and prayers are with Tim's wife Maureen and his son Luke.”
About Political Intelligence
Glen Johnson is Politics Editor at boston.com and lead blogger for "Political Intelligence." He moved to Massachusetts in the fourth grade, and has covered local, state, and national politics for over 25 years. E-mail him at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.