PARIS – President Bush mourned NBC correspondent Tim Russert at a news conference Saturday with France's president, calling the veteran newsman who died of a heart attack "a hard-working, thorough and decent man."
Bush said that he, Laura Bush and the American people have Russert's widow, Maureen, and son Luke in their thoughts and prayers, saying "I know they're hurting right now," and saying the 58-year-old Russert loved his job, his family and his country.
"America lost a really fine man yesterday," said Bush, who appeared with President Nicolas Sarkozy for a question-and-answer session with American and French reporters in Paris amid their talks on a host of country-to-country and global issues.
"We're going to miss him," Bush said of Russert, saying he had been privileged to be interviewed by the NBC correspondent and Washington bureau chief for the network.
Russert died of a heart attack Friday while at work at his network's Washington studios Friday.
Vice President Dick Cheney called his passing "a great tragedy."
Cheney, who has suffered from heart ailments in recent years, said, "I remember many occasions when we did the show when he would ask me about my health. But he never commented on his own; I was unaware that he had coronary artery disease. We could have compared notes. But it's a tremendous loss."
"One of the great things about 'Meet the Press' and the way Tim ran it was that you got an hour sometimes, if you had a big subject like we did in September of '01, where you could devote the whole hour to getting into a subject in depth," Cheney said in an NBC interview Saturday. "And Tim was never into 'gotcha' journalism. He would ask you tough questions, he would remind you of quotes you made previously in other settings or on earlier shows, so you never got away with anything going up vis-a-vis Tim."