Shriver: Russert was like 'a father'

June 15, 2008 at 4:51 PM

WASHINGTON, June 15 (UPI) -- The late "Meet the Press" host Tim Russert was "a father" to many journalists during his time on the U.S. TV news series, journalist Maria Shriver said Sunday.

Appearing on the popular NBC program, Shriver said Russert was always prepared to offer younger journalists advice, such as the time she went to interview then-Cuban President Fidel Castro.

"Well, I think it's so poignant that we're talking about Tim on Father's Day, because he was a father to so many of us," Shriver told guest host Tim Brokaw, "the whole bureau there and all the young journalists, and when I went to Cuba, he told me ahead of time, 'You need me in Cuba when you're going to interview Fidel Castro.'"

Political strategist was also on the broadcast, telling Brokaw how important Russert and "Press" were to the electoral process.

"Yeah, this is where you separated the men from the boys," she said. "You weren't a candidate until you came on this show."

Political consultant James Carville also reminisced about Russert, who died Friday, and the TV host's passion for politics and people.

"And the truth is, he was a better guy, he was really a better guy than even you think he was, and the reason he was is because he had so much of a little boy in him," he said of the popular media figure.

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