Meet the Press   |  February 13, 2016

Shriver: Russert ‘was a father to so many of us’

June 15: Former NBC News correspondent Maria Shriver remembers her friend and colleague Tim Russert.

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This content comes from a Full-Text Transcript of the program.

BROKAW: And joining us this morning, among others, from Sun Valley , Idaho , Tim 's very dear friend, Maria Shriver , our former colleague.

And, Maria , I remember so well when you and Tim went to Cuba and you were interviewing Fidel Castro . It was kind of comforting, my guess is, to have Tim at your side on that occasion.

MS. MARIA SHRIVER: 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, the whole bureau there and all the young journalists. And when I went to Cuba he was -- he told me ahead of time, "You need me in Cuba when you're going to interview Fidel Castro ." I said, "No, Tim , you don't have to come. I, I don't really need you. I can handle this myself." He said, "No, you need me. I need to produce for you, I need to cheer you up, I need to be there for you." He actually wanted to just meet Castro , and he wanted to go along for the ride. But he, he prepared probably better than I did for the interview, and I remember how excited he was to be there, the intrigue, getting up in the middle of the night, going over to meet Castro and making sure that I knew everything I needed to ask him. And I think he, he was that kind of person, as we've talked about, and I think as everybody's talked about -- thorough, excited, a lover of history, as Doris said. So he wanted to meet Castro , he wanted to understand the Cuban missile crisis , he wanted to get answers. And he probably knew as much about it as Castro himself. But he was great fun, he was a great companion. And, really, he saw himself as a mentor to me and, I think, to so many others, and I think that's why he was so beloved in our organization and out.