In the nearly 10 years that Russert has headed "Meet the Press," the show has expanded from 30 minutes to an hour, covering the major news issues of the week, from foreign policy to gun control to election-year politics.
"He sees the program as a major forum for political debate," Kalb says.
"I hope that the quality of the interviews, the information, will make viewers better-informed citizens," Russert said in his George interview. "I know that sounds noble but I believe it very deeply."
Keys to Success
"It helps him a lot in the way he formats questions, the way he leads up to bigger questions like a lawyer would," Fischer says.
But William Kristol '73, editor of The Weekly Standard, says it is Russert's political background that is his greatest asset during interviews. "He's more perceptive of politicians," says Kristol, who first met Russert when the two worked together for Moynihan in 1976. "He asks more interesting questions because he has been in their shoes."
Kristol says Russert has succeeded despite attending law school.
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