Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Hillary and Bill Clinton

I met them each once.

Meeting Hillary was quite an adventure.

Her husband was President then and she was still First Lady. One of our anchors, Harry Smith, had just had a baby and CBS got President Clinton to tape congratulations to the new mother and father.

They showed it on the air.

In it, the President said the line that froze me in my tracks.

"Now, Mark, it's your turn."

I thought,"Well, why don't you just put some pressure on me...."

By the time Hillary was on our show, my daughter had been born.  I was determined to tell the First Lady what had happened since the day the tape ran.

Just one thing.

Secret Service Agents.

It was something I had to get used to. Whenever the head of a country or an important dignitary was interviewed on our show, the studio and dressing rooms were overrun with security. If you saw people you didn't know in long rain coats or wearing sunglasses, that meant a big fish was here.

When my brother was a DJ at DC101 in Washington, someone came on our show with Secret Service guys. The conversation with them went like this...

Me-"You're from DC, right?" The guy says back, bored, "Yeah."

"Ever listen to DC101?" I ask. I get another, can't be bothered, "Yeah." "My brother, Kirk, is a DJ there."

Bigtime change."Your brother is the Kirkster?" "Yep."

Bigtime thaw.  "Hey, Bobb-ee, this is Kirk's brother!"

Life was entirely different after that.

Still tough.  Just not as tough.

So I eventually got through them to get to Mrs. Clinton who couldn't have been more gracious. I introduced myself, I told her about the tape and the birth of my Maya. She smiled and took it all in.

An hour later, after the show had ended, I asked her if we could take a picture together.

She said, "Sure," and then added, "Father of Maya!"

I was grinning long after the picture had been taken.

Very tickled. Very impressed.

Adventure number two.

Bill Clinton.
I met him right after he'd been reelected to a second term. I was now the co-host in the morning and along with my co-anchor, Jane Robelot, we went to one of those tuxedo/gown kind of things. We set up our cameras and waited.

And there he was.

Just like some people have said, he was like a rock star. You know how they say, "when a person was in the room, he was really in the room?"

That would be Bill Clinton.

I asked him, "What are your fears of a second term presidency?"

He said, "You worry that people might think that no matter how strong you feel on the issues, how you feel about running this wonderful country, that being president, you just don't burn as hot as you did.  Well, I'm here to let them know that that's not true. I'm here to let them know I'm just as committed as I ever was." He shook some hands, took a few pictures, and then left.

Met them both.

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