The Russert Miracles

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From Newsweek

The Russert Miracles

Courtesy Colleen King
A rainbow appeared as Washington bid farewell to Tim Russert

By Tammy Haddad

The first "Russert miracle," as attendees called it, happened at the private funeral service held at Holy Trinity Church in Georgetown; the family of the late Meet the Press host Tim Russert had requested that Senators Obama and McCain to sit together, and the two presidential combatants obliged. CNN Washington Bureau chief David Bohrman, a former NBC producer, describes the scene to NEWSWEEK: "They sat side-by-side and spoke for twenty minutes. The body language was total friendship. They were warm and friendly and truly engaged in a conversation.... I kept thinking here we are at the funeral at the son of a sanitation worker and the presidential candidates are having their first one on one conversation here."

The second "miracle" took place at the end of the memorial service at the Kennedy Center that began with Tom Brokaw and ended with Luke Russert's tribute to his dad. At the end of the 65-minute-long televised service, a surprise guest appeared: Russert favorite Bruce Springsteen, on a giant screen playing "Thunder Road." "This is for your pop," Springsteen told Luke.

The third "miracle" took place as the crowd moved to the rooftop for a reception.  The sun returned after a light, fast summer rainstorm and the sky opened to a rainbow extending from one end of the Kennedy Center to the other. Colleen King of MSNBC's "Hardball" captured it on her cell phone camera.

"After the magical experience of this service, to come out and see the rainbow and Luke at the bottom of it made the last dry eye weep," said NBC News executive Phil Griffin. The last song in the memorial service was, fittingly, "Somewhere over the Rainbow."

When asked his reaction to explain the sudden appearance of the rainbow at the exact moment, Luke Russert, his sparkly smile so reminiscent of his father's, said: "Is anyone still an atheist now?"