My Favorite Tim Russert Story

Luke, \

Luke, “Big Russ,” and Tim Russert


THIS WEEK, MY FAVORITE TV newsman—and in that, I’m only one of millions—suddenly passed away at age 58.

Tim was a great family man. He adored his dad—and wrote the book Big Russ & Me in his honor. For Tim, the sun also rose and set in his son, Luke. Here’s a story about Luke that Tim shared one time with Tom Brokaw:

Christmas Eve, 2004, we went to midnight mass, came home and Luke was getting ready for bed. And my wife, Maureen, came running in and said, “You won’t believe it. He’s got a tattoo.”

I said, “A tattoo? I talked to him about that, about the physical consequences. He promised he —

“Luke, get in here.”


“What do you mean, no? Get in here. No? What — lift up your arm.”

Arms locked. “No.”

I said, “Lift up your arm.”

He lifts up his arm, and there in a little purple stencil print, the initials TJR. My dad’s name is Timothy Joseph Russert. My name is Timothy John Russert.

And he said, “After I read your book, I always wanted you and grandpa on my side.”

And, man, I fell in the chair, sobbed uncontrollably. My wife’s crying. Luke’s crying. I said, “You know, this is the nicest tattoo I’ve ever seen, but don’t get another one, you little rascal.”


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