Tim Russert

Denny Hatch is the author of six books on marketing and four novels, and is a direct marketing writer, designer and consultant. His latest book is “Write Everything Right!” Visit him at dennyhatch.com.

I've been around for 12 presidential administrations—starting with that of Franklin Roosevelt, who died in office when I was 10. In my memory bank are five deeply flawed men who turned the highest office into a national nightmare and were rendered politically impotent during the final years of their presidencies: John F. Kennedy (Bay of Pigs, Cuban missile crisis, assassination), Lyndon Johnson (Vietnam), Richard Nixon (Watergate), Jimmy Carter (Iran hostage crisis) and Bill Clinton (Monica Lewinsky).

My family was not Democratic nor Republican. Nor am I. I've always voted for whomever I believed to be the best person for the job. As a result, I'm a registered Independent, which means I never vote in primary elections. If that's a cop-out, so be it.

For the record, up to the current administration (on which the jury is still out) I voted Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Humphrey, Carter, Reagan, Bush 41 and Clinton.

Only twice in my life have I seen the country crippled and disfigured, resulting in genuine grassroots passion in a presidential election: 1968 and 2008.

The year I got passionate about politics—and dispassionate—was 1968.

The candidacies of both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are in jeopardy. They have been “Swift-boated” by the media. For example, Clinton may well have been the nominee by now, had she not muffed a response in the Oct. 30, 2007 Democratic debate at Drexel University to Tim Russert’s question about New York Governor Eliot Spitzer’s plan to issue driver’s licenses to illegal aliens. She agreed with the idea, but when immediately challenged by Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd, she backed off. In normal times, this would have been a small slipup. These are not normal times. This was not a small slip. Rather it

I am a news junkie. My take on cable and network news coverage: • Dullest newscaster: Wolf Blitzer • Best newscaster: Mika Brzezinski • Most miscast newscaster: Katie Couric • Best interviewer: Tim Russert • Worst interviewer: Chris Matthews • Most fascinating: Chris Matthews • Most irritating: Chris Matthews The Chris Matthews Enigma Chris Matthews, star of “Hardball” (MSNBC, weeknights) and “The Chris Matthews Show” (NBC, weekends), may be the smartest guy on television. He is an expert on history and politics (he was top dog on the staff of legendary House Speaker Tip O’Neill for a number of years), knows everybody in Washington, and can drop historical nuggets into a conversation

In the mid-1950s, when I was attending Columbia College, I worked nights and weekends as a page at NBC in New York. In those days, television was black-and-white and always live. After squeezing fat tourists into thin seats, we pages were free to watch the show—from the back of the studio audience, the stage door or the control room. During those three years, I must have seen, in person, every major and minor star in the NBC galaxy, as well as those from other networks and Hollywood, since we also were assigned to work the Academy Awards and the Emmys. I was able to

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