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Political Leaders, Media Pay Tribute to Tim Russert

BY Admin  June 18, 2008 at 3:20 PM EDT

Tim Russert's casket is carried to his funeral; AP

“It is not easy to preach a homily for Tim and to
communicate the feelings we all share concerning this remarkable man, for he
was truly one of the great communicators in American society,” said
Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, the archbishop emeritus of Washington, D.C.,
according to the Associated Press.

Russert, who had hosted the popular NBC Sunday-morning talk
show “Meet the Press” since 1991, died Friday of a heart attack at
the age of 58. He also served as NBC News’ Washington bureau chief.

“It has all been said so eloquently in the tributes
that have come from some of the highest authorities in our nation and even
around the world. … All that remains is to say thank you to the good and
gracious God who gave us Tim Russert for 58 years and to pray that the beloved
anchor of ‘Meet the Press’ is now sitting at the large table of the Lord to
begin a conversation which will last forever,” said McCarrick who presided
over the Catholic service at Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Georgetown.

Russert’s 22-year-old son, Luke, gave the eulogy. His mother
and Russert’s widow, Maureen Orth, looked on.

“My dad was my best friend,” Luke Russert said,
his voice strong and clear, according to the Associated Press. “To explain
my bond with my father is utterly impossible to put into words.”

A loud speaker broadcast the service to about 100 people
standing along the tree-lined streets. A man wearing a kilt played the bagpipes
as the crowd arrived.

Among the dignitaries were New York Gov. David Paterson,
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi,
D-Calif. NBC News anchor Brian Williams, “Today” show host Matt Lauer
and Bryant Gumbel were among the honorary pallbearers.

Russert was known for conducting tough interviews of Washington’s most powerful politicians, yet he evoked an
everyman quality that showed pride in his blue-collar upbringing in Buffalo, N.Y.

New York Sens. Charles E. Schumer and Hillary Clinton plus
Rep. Brian Higgins introduced a resolution Wednesday to rename a portion of U.S. 20a that
runs near the Buffalo Bills’ stadium after Russert.

“Tim Russert was loved and respected throughout the
halls of Washington for his journalistic
integrity and trademark tenacity – but during all of his years in D.C. he
remained a true Buffalonian at heart,” Clinton said in a release. “Some people
may not have understood why he would sign off of a hard-hitting political talk
show with a hearty ‘Go Bills,’ but if you knew Tim you knew it made perfect
sense.”

An invitation-only memorial service will be held at 4 p.m.
ET Wednesday at Washington’s Kennedy Center.
It will be shown live on MSNBC and other news outlets.

Former NBC anchor Tom Brokaw, former New York Gov. Mario
Cuomo, Maria Shriver and Luke Russert are among those expected to deliver
remembrances.