Norah O’Donnell: Baby Talk and the Midterms

By Chris Ariens 

NBC’s Norah O’Donnell talks with about her new book, co-authored with husband/chef/restaurateur Geoff Tracy Baby Love: Healthy, Easy, Delicious Meals for Your Baby and Toddler. In addition to the baby talk, the mother of three (right in a TVNewser photo from 2008) talks about the midterms:

You shared an Emmy for NBC’s coverage of the 2008 presidential campaign. What are you doing to gear up for this November?

Gearing up for what is going to be another fascinating midterm election — where control of the House and the Senate is on the line, where members of Congress are facing record-low approval ratings. I’ll be out on the road, covering some of the key House and Senate contests up until election night. I’ve been doing a lot more of the analysis, too, on Morning Joe.

Tim Russert’s death must have come as a terrible shock to you at NBC.

It was, and I think about him so often. He died just two weeks before my third child, Riley, was born. And I had started an early maternity leave, so I was out of the office that day.

David Gregory was the one to tell me that Tim had died, and of course I ended up going back to the office and anchoring some of our coverage.

Tim was the one who knew, [after] I had just had the twins, [that] four months later I was pregnant again. I was really very embarrassed about going into work and telling them. So I was five months pregnant, and my husband said, “You need to tell Tim that you’re pregnant.” So I finally got up the courage to tell Tim. And of course he was so wonderful and fabulous. He loved children. I mean, anytime my twins would come in, he would literally spend, like, an hour with them, playing with them as they were babies. So he was excited. And he said to me, “If I’d ever had a girl, I would have named her Riley.” And so that day I went home and told Geoff that, and I asked, “Is that a good name?” Geoff said, “Yes, that’s a good name.” Tim died two weeks before Riley was born, so I never got to tell him that we did name her Riley.

One day when I was pregnant, Tim dropped by my office [with something]. It was the funniest thing he did — it was a picture of Wonder Woman, and he had put my head on her body. He was so great in really supporting all the journalists that worked for him. It still gives me a great deal of confidence when I think about him and the way he inspired a lot of us.