Newspapers, Television
Jun 14, 2008
MIKE BARNICLE IN THE BOSTON HERALD: On Tim Russert, “In a mean-spirited profession, he was not a mean person.”

Boston Herald, Saturday, June 14, 2008

Barnicle had just left Tim Russert in D.C. office

Boston newsman Mike Barnicle was at NBC’s Washington news bureau yesterday and was joking around with close friend Tim Russert 15 minutes before the “Meet the Press” host collapsed.

Barnicle, an occasional columnist for the Boston Herald, had made the trip to Washington, D.C., to substitute host for Chris Matthews on MSNBC’s “Hardball” last night.

When Barnicle got to the bureau, he went down to see Russert, who was godfather to Barnicle’s 15-year-old son – and Russert’s namesake – Timothy.

The pair fooled around for a few minutes before Barnicle headed upstairs and left Russert to record some tracks for Sunday’s “Meet the Press.”

About 15 minutes later, an intern came running into the “Hardball” office and said Russert had just collapsed downstairs. He’d been taken to the hospital.

Barnicle got the intern to give him a ride about a mile away to Sibley Memorial Hospital. “I got down there to the emergency room and they had just pronounced him,” Barnicle said.

Barnicle had known the 58-year-old Russert for about three decades. A few weeks ago, they celebrated Russert’s son Luke’s graduation from Boston College with dinner in the North End.

“He was not a mean person,” Barnicle said. “In a mean-spirited profession, he was not a mean person.

“And he came to the job and to his life and to his family and his faith each day with just pure joy,” Barnicle said.

Russert’s doctor said the newsman was aware he had asysmptomatic coronary disease and had taken steps including medication and exercise to control it.