Saturday, September 27, 2008

Aristocratic Adventures: Debate Week

The 2008 Presidential Debates took place on the Univeristy of Mississippi Campus. It was a historic moment during which our nation's first African American candidate, Sen. Obama, battled it out with Senator John McCain. I was able to witness all this live and in person. I started off watching this debate in CNN's correspondant spot in the debate hall in front of Candy Crowley. Later, I moved down to the floor to get a closer glimpse of history in the making. It had been a long week, culminating in this moment in which I could lay witness to history in the making. I personally thought the debate was a bit flat. Especially in the beginning where it seemed as if they took the time to argue the fundamental difference between a republican and democratic as it relates to fiscal spending. I found that discussion fruitless. In light of the drama this week and the economic crisis, I don't know how convincing either candidate was in addressing the $700 billion dollar elephant in the room.

But, I don't want to talk about the debate itself so much as I want to reflect on the wonderful week I had as a CNN runner. It was an invaluable experience and I got to meet a lot of really awesome individuals. It was incredibly thrilling and fast-paced. There is so much that goes into what you actually see on television. I got to meet Susanne Malveaux, Candy Crowley (pictured above in the middle), Bill Schneider, Ed Henry, and Dana Bash. In addition to the CNN crew, I saw (and occasionally met) Katie Couric (gorgeous in person, a stunner), Tom Brokaw, Shepard Smith, Sean Hannity (but, he is really terrible), Andrea Mitchell (NBC), Bill Richardson, John Kerry, Rudy Guilliani (I know that is not how he spells his name but he, like Hannity, is awful), and Madeleine Albright (wow).

It was really crazy. I would just stand around and all these people would just pop up like anyone else walking around. I have to say that Candy Crowley (CNN senior political analyst) was incredible. She is so accomplished and intelligent and yet in person she is very warm, kind, and like family. We actually got to talk alot, and I instantly bonded with her. I just wanted to talk to her. I didn't want anything from her or to steal her attention, I just WANTED to talk to her and hear her thoughts on things going on in the world. We talked about family things, politics, and a brief mention of Anderson Cooper (a good friend of hers). She also was kind enough to write a note to my mom in the little debate booklet I got in the hall. She wrote, "Barbara, you have a really terrific son. I know I will see him again doin really important stuff." I got her contact and several others in CNN, and I am going to check in with her from time to time because she is a really great person. Candy rocks!
I really enjoyed the experience! I took so much away from the internship and I think I may have made some new friends. It was already a dream come true to work with CNN, but to be able to have this experience, meet all of these incredible people I watch on TV, meet politicians who have helped to shape our country, and to witness the first African American debate at Ole Miss was more than I could have ever thought of. I am so motivated and assured. I got compliments from people who don't give them lightly. I know that I am on my way. I have already claimed a little bit of what's in store for the future. I didn't tell Candy Crowley and Susanne Malveaux good-bye, I told them that I would see them later. And I will!

I didn't expect to be actually in the Ford Center for the entire debate. It was a last minute pleasant surprise. It was hinted at, though. After one of a few conversations with Candy, she had told a one of the CNN people that myself and Brantley (one of the other interns) should have a media pass to get into the debate, because as we joked earlier, "what Candy wants, Candy gets." In the end, our supervisor got us in to the debate with our media passes. Earlier in the week, I was able to get a photo in front of Obama's podium. I didn't even realize that he would be at that one either.
In all it was an awesome time! And I here there were really good times to be had in the Grove yesterday. I am really proud of my school and all the great things that our happening. I have been able to do so many great things in taking advantage of everything this university has to offer. Now, I understand that quote that is in Union stair well about how one "never really graduates from Ole Miss."

No comments: