I recently became editor-at-large of Andrew Breitbart's empire, but I first met Andrew when he was still the unnamed other half of Matt Drudge's monster website. The year was 2001. I'd just entered college at UCLA, and after seeing the anti-Israel bias of the student newspaper, The Daily Bruin, I had become their token conservative columnist. My specialty was throwing bombs. The reaction to my pieces was absolutely unanimous: The liberals on campus hated them.
One day, I opened my email to find a missive from some guy named Andrew. No last name attached. It said that he worked with Matt Drudge. It also said he'd been sitting in a Westwood restaurant with nothing to read and picked up a copy of the Daily Bruin. He'd read my column, and he wanted to get together.
"Hell yes," I thought and told him so. A few days later, we were sitting at that same restaurant. I was watching him sip a Sprite and eat a plate of Mexican food, and we were chatting about what we wanted to do with our lives. I remember thinking that Andrew was one of the most electric characters I'd ever met: hysterically funny, brashly indifferent to the conventions of political correctness. Ballsy. Jovial. Nobody loved life more, or attacked it more ravenously.
And generous. There are a lot of nasty characters in the media space, as I found out early in my career. But Andrew was loyal to a fault. He would stand by his friends -- and his ideals -- through hell or high water. He was unremittingly giving. After finding out that I had just secured a deal to become the youngest syndicated columnist in the country, he quickly fixed me up with David Limbaugh and Ann Coulter, both of who are now close friends. Throughout my career, whenever I needed advice -- particularly on my last book, "Primetime Propaganda," in which I went semi-undercover to expose Hollywood's hatred for conservatives -- Andrew was there, explaining to me how to play the media. Nobody knew how to do it better. He drew his political opponents into his traps, and then locked the door as the walls began to shut in, Star Wars-style, although he would have preferred a John Waters reference.
Andrew was also a warrior, of course. Now that he's gone, people will characterize him as angry, which he was but only at injustice. Mostly, he enjoyed the battle, as most great warriors do. He loved the back and forth. He loved nothing better than the bizarre irony of mortal political enemies having a drink together -- which is why an hour before his death, he was apparently having an animated conversation with a liberal in a Westwood restaurant. Typical Andrew.