Tim Russert and Albany

tim russert

RIP.

His from-out-of-nowhere death has a lot of people recalling memories of him. Quite a few of those memories are from Albany, which played a big role in his early career.

After working for longtime NY US Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Russert came to Albany in the early 1980s to work for then-governor Mario Cuomo. It sounds like it was a bumpy transition, as NYT's Adam Nagourney recalls threatening Russert with some sort of unnatural act on at least one occasion. But Russert won people over at the capitol. Jay Gallagher, who's covered Albany politics for, well, a long time, says nobody since Russert "has approached the level of respect Russert had with the Albany press corps."

Russert seems to have made an impression on people outside the halls of the capitol, too. Linda Keenan, who grew up in Albany during the 1980s, recalls how her mother -- no fan of Cuomo -- came to regard Russert as "our Tim."

More recently, Ed Dague remembers Russert from the 2000 Clinton/Lazio race. They were both in Buffalo for a debate and Dague had arranged for Russert to appear on Channel 13, but given all that was going on, he wasn't sure Russert would show. But Dague says Russert kept the promise:

Maybe our Buffalo connection was why he made it to my broadcast. Maybe the length of our relationship was why he made it to my broadcast. Or maybe Tim Russert was a genuine human being who routinely went out of his way to help anyone he knew anywhere and any time and that was why he made it to my broadcast. Whatever his reason, he made my broadcast report special.

(Thanks to anonymous for passing along the Keenan link)

photo: Flickr user hyku, used under a CC license

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