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Reid: Russert Had A 'zest For Life'

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was among the first on Capitol Hill to offer a reaction to the shocking death of NBC legend Tim Russert, who grilled his share of lawmakers on "Meet the Press."

“I was greatly saddened to learn of Tim Russert’s untimely death," Reid said. "Tim was a warm and gracious family man with a great zest for life and an unsurpassed passion for his work. His rise from working-class roots to become a well-respected leader in political journalism is an inspiration to many. Tim asked the tough questions the right way and was the best in the business at keeping his interview subjects honest. My thoughts are with his family.”

Rep. Adam Putnam (R-Fla.), chairman of the House Republican Conference, was also among the first to offer sympathies for Russert's family.

"I was shocked and saddened to learn of the death of Tim Russert," Putnam said. "Tim set the gold standard for political journalism as a tough and fair questioner in the service of the public interest. With a unique and unmatched passion for his work, Tim transformed ‘Meet the Press’ into an American institution. Sunday mornings will never be the same without him.

“Our thoughts and prayers at this hour are with Tim’s loved ones, his friends and all of his colleagues at NBC News.”

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) recalled Russert's humble beginnings in western New York and his rise to the top of the Washington political establishment.

“It is hard to comprehend the fact that Tim Russert has been taken from us so suddenly," Schumer said. "... Western New York, in particular, will miss Tim Russert because he was, in every way, Mr. Buffalo. Even when he was interviewing presidents and heads of state, western New Yorkers knew that his blue-collar, Buffalo sensibility guided him throughout.”
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