WASHINGTON - The crowd at Tim Russert's funeral yesterday would have made a great panel on his Sunday morning news show.
The two men vying to become president, Sens. Barack Obama and John McCain, were there, as were members of Congress, television journalists, and several generations of politicians from both parties.
Mr. Russert, the host of NBC's Meet the Press, died Friday of a heart attack. He was 58.
Those at the funeral included New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.), and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) Honorary pallbearers included NBC News anchor Brian Williams, Today show host Matt Lauer, and former Today host Bryant Gumbel.
Mr. Russert's son, Luke Russert, 22, gave the eulogy. His mother and Mr. Russert's widow, Maureen Orth, looked on.
Luke Russert asked the crowd to imagine a special edition of Meet the Press this Sunday in heaven, perhaps with a debate between Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr, or John F. Kennedy and Barry Goldwater.
Later in the day, former President Bill Clinton and Sen. Hillary Clinton joined several hundred of Mr. Russert's friends and colleagues at a memorial service televised by MSNBC.
Tom Brokaw opened the memorial service by lifting a bottle of Rolling Rock beer to salute his fallen colleague.
"We are going to do it Irish-style," Mr. Brokaw, who pilfered the bottle from Mr. Russert's office cooler, said at the service at the Kennedy Center. "There will be some tears, some laughs, and the occasional truth."