Polk County Enterprise (Livingston, Tex.), Vol. 124, No. 5, Ed. 1 Sunday, January 15, 2006 Page: 49 of 60
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Russert and son Luke clowned on the Meet the Press set in 1997.
develop a sense of entitlement, and the one thing you learn in Buffalo
growing up is that you are never, ever entitled. There is not a day that
goes by that 1 don't say to my son. You are always, always loved, but
you are never, never entitled."
Indeed, Russert’s fatlier, whom he affectionately tails Big Russ, retired
with 2(X) unused sick days and taught his son the value of hand work and
education. Russert and his siblings dkl tlieir homework around die kitchen
table as the sweet animus of his mother's cooking drifted from the oven.
"We couldn't tratle our pencil lor a fork until all the homework was done,"
he says. Both parents signed his report cards.
However, it certainly wasn't all work and no play for the father and son,
who caught the International League's Buffalo Bisons playing haseball
whenever possible. It was during one of the outings, a 196 s exhibition game
between die International League All-Stars and die New York Yankees,
that Big Russ taught his 13-year-old a lesson that he never forgot.
"My dad bought tickets way up in the nosebleeds," lie says. "I went
down die aisle and tried desperately to get autographs. This one baseball
player, Joe Pepitone, pushed me aside and I was crushed. I came back to
my seat very detected and my dad said, Wliat happened'' I explained it to
him and he said, 'Don’t ever forget that. It takes as much time to be nice to
someone as it does to be a jerk.' It lias stayed with me my entire life."
The first in his family to attend college, Russert accepted a partial
scholarship from John Carroll University in Cleveland, where he received
a bachelor's degree in political science, and then earned a law degree from
Cleveland State University before passing the bar exam in 1976. After
working in Buffalo, N.Y., as an aide to the late New York Sen. Daniel
Patrick Moynihan, he eventually relocated to Washington to handle
Moynihan's media relations. He returned to New York to work as
an adviser fir Gov. Mario Cuomo, and joined NBC in 1984 as an
assistant to the network’s president.
Believing Russert had potential to liead a news organization, his
new boss at NBC groomed him fir the role, assigning him to die
network's Washington bureau in 1989- The next year, Russert was
asked to serve as a panelist on Alter tlx Pirns, where his si loot-straight
comments made him a candidate fir the pregram's mtxlerator when
that position came open with Garrick Utley's departure in 1991.
When the job was offered, Russert accepted.
Although lie works seven days a week—attending church on
Saturdays since his Sunday mornings are Ixxiked with Alter the Press—Russert makes it a priority to spend
time with his family. Wife Maureen Orth, whom lie married in 1983, is a correspondent for Vanity Fair
magazine, and their son, Luke, 20, is a sophomore at Boston College.
"Through the course of it, I have never missed one of my son's football, baseball or soccer games," lie says.
“If he had a 3 o’clock game, I would carry my cell phone, go to it and come hac k. Everyone undersrexxJ what
(Continued on page 10)
Russert worked as a aide for New
York Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan.
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White, Barbara. Polk County Enterprise (Livingston, Tex.), Vol. 124, No. 5, Ed. 1 Sunday, January 15, 2006, newspaper, January 15, 2006; Livingston, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth788146/m1/49/: accessed November 14, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Livingston Municipal Library.