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Gwen Ifill on Russert: "Goodbye to a Standup Brother"

Gwen Ifill sits with Tim Russert on the set of 'Meet The Press' in February. Meet the Press, NBC News hide caption

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Meet the Press, NBC News

As journalists, politicos, and Meet the Press fans pay tribute to Tim Russert, who died suddenly on Friday, Gwen Ifill offers this must-read for The Root:

He never had to say it, but I also know Tim considered it a bonus that, by hiring me, he was going to be able to add an African American voice to his Washington bureau — someone who could keep up with him on politics, but also tell him stuff he didn't know. He was keenly aware that, as proud as he was of his Irish Catholic, blue collar roots, other people had different roots that they were equally proud of and that understanding those varied views of the world was important.

... I made my last appearance with him on Meet the Press a few weeks ago. We were talking about race in the context of this year's presidential contest and another panelist, Jon Meacham of Newsweek, remarked that race was a subject that made white folks queasy. I countered that black folks only get queasy talking about race when they are in conversation with white folks who get queasy talking about it. Tim's eyes twinkled when he looked at me. He absolutely loved that I was telling him something he had not thought of before.

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On today's show, Farai will speak with Ifill and Michele Norris, host of NPR's All Things Considered. Both often appeared on Meet the Press and knew Russert well.

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