Remembering Tim Russert

Tim Russert speaks to the crowd during a debate between Democratic presidential hopefuls Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2008 in Cleveland.
AP Photo/Mark Duncan

Weekly commentary by CBS Evening News chief Washington correspondent and Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer.

It was a year ago but sometimes it seems like last week.

My wife and I were on a vacation in the French countryside when my cell phone vibrated and it was Howard Kurtz of the Washington Post.

"Get ready for some very bad news," he said. "Tim Russert is dead."

I couldn't believe it, but we drove straight to Paris because NBC asked me to talk by satellite about my friendship with Tim.

Some were surprised that two network rivals could be good friends, but we were.

We both loved baseball. Our seats were close together at the local ball park and we watched a lot of games together. Maybe it's more accurate to say we talked a lot of politics while baseball games were being played.

Sure, we delighted in scooping each other. When I got a beat on Tim (and there weren't many times I did), I felt as if I had hit a home run off the best pitcher in the league.

He was equally delighted to run one by me!

But the best compliment I ever got was when someone asked Tim what he watched when "Meet the Press" was preempted and he answered, "Why, 'Face the Nation.'"

Tim made our game better by playing the game right. He did his homework, then asked questions and listened to the answers.

We have a wall of TV sets in our office where we monitor the competition, and on Sundays I still find myself looking at those screens expecting to find that big, round Irish face of Tim Russert.

I miss ol' Tim, and I expect I will for a long time.