In 1998, for instance, Russert was the first to report that House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) would resign from Congress. In 1999, he broke the story that Hillary Rodham Clinton might consider running for the open U.S. Senate seat in New York.
Last month, Russert landed the first exclusive interview with Rudolph W. Giuliani after the New York City mayor announced he would not run for the Senate.
Many in the political world see "Meet the Press" as the place to break news and political announcements, Fischer says. The show is political press secretaries' favorite place to send their bosses, according to a recent survey published in George.
While Russert's colleagues say his passion for law and politics makes him take the show very seriously, his personal qualities make him "fun to work with."
"He is very jovial and good-natured, and obviously very intelligent," Fischer says.
"He's friendly and cheerful," Kristol says. "He has a very ebullient personality."
The show has had its lighter moments, such as the back-and-forth bickering of political odd couple James Carville and Mary Matalin, who are regular guests.
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