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Paul Waldman has a terrific column on Tim Russert. This paragraph sums it up pretty well:

The core -- if not the entirety -- of this persona can be summed up in the word Russert invokes at every opportunity, wielded like a talisman of authenticity: Buffalo. Buffalo, where the salt of the Earth trudge home from their exhausting blue-collar jobs, where the cheap beer is guzzled in corner bars, where the grime sits heavy on the walls of crumbling buildings, and the mills have all left town. Buffalo, where the young Russert got to know the real Americans on whose behalf he now speaks. Buffalo, which can bestow working-class credibility, even on a man who makes a reported $5 million a year and spends his summers among the decidedly elite at his second home on Nantucket. Although Buffalo is not technically in the "heartland," for Russert it functions the same way as the country's middle does for Republicans, as a shorthand of virtue, a geographical location out of which springs the values of modesty, piety, industriousness, and, most of all, the lack of privilege.

--Jonathan Chait