Tuesday, June 14, 2011

George Herbert Walker Bush

I'm often asked about the "important" people you get a chance to meet as a reporter.
I was blessed to have a 25 year career as a broadcast journalist and was very fortunate to meet some of those "important" people.
Who was the nicest? This one's easy.
But I'll start at the bottom of the list.
As mentioned in this blog previously, I interviewed Senator Edward M. Kennedy in Wilkes-Barre in 1980 when he challenged President Jimmy Carter. Kennedy didn't like my questions. Toughest interview I ever did.
And I'll throw in another candidate for President; Rick Santorum. I interviewed him when he challenged Senator Harris Wofford. Santorum loves to answer the question he thinks you should be asking. Another tough interview.
By far the nicest presidential candidate I ever interviewed was George Herbert Walker Bush, our 41st President.
I interviewed Mr. Bush (please note the respect) at the Sheraton Hotel on Meadow Avenue in Scranton in 1980 when he was running for President.
He was being trailed by a group of Japanese journalists who spoke little English.
It was a one-on-one interview and Mr. Bush could not have been nicer.
I'd like to think that I have pretty good radar on these things.
Mr. Bush greeted me warmly, gave me more time than I thought he would and went out of his way to make me feel comfortable.
I left knowing that this was not just a candidate angling for some good publicity. This was a man who was genuinely, well a gentleman, in every sense of the word.
It is my favorite interview...ever, and not influenced by the fact that Mr. Bush went on to serve as Vice-President and President of the United States.
The former President turned 87 this past Sunday.
Happy Birthday Mr. President.
You are the best!