Tim Russert’s son Luke did the late host of “Meet the Press” proud on Thursday, refusing to back down in a tough, contentious interview with 80-year-old Congressman Charles B. Rangel.
Rangel didn’t appear to realize who he was wrangling with when Luke asked him whether he feared losing his job over ethics violations that the former chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee is facing.
“What are you talking about?” asked Rangel. “Are you just trying to make copy?”
The congressman then tried to intimidate Russert by noting his youth.
“You are young,” said Rangel. “I guess you do need to make a name for yourself.”
Of course, Russert’s name is pretty recognizable already because of his family tree.
Rangel continued by saying “basically, it’s a dumb question” and asking Russert who was his employer.
When Russert replied he worked for NBC and MSNBC, Rangel said “it doesn’t sound like NBC… asking these dumb questions.”
Actually, Russert was asking legitimate questions. Reportedly, Rangel apologized today and accepted any questions asked. And even if the questions were as dumb as Rangel thought they were, any journalist would know that some of the dumbest questions can led to the best answers and the biggest news.
NBC supported Russert’s line of questioning by playing the entire scene on the NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams.
By the way, Rangel knew Luke’s father very well, having been a frequent guest on “Meet the Press.” Three years ago, Tim Russert interviewed the congressman on the program after Rangel wrote a book containing his memoirs.