Fox News’ Bret Baier has a big day ahead of him, to put it mildly. The Special Report host has an exclusive one-on-one sit down with President Obama Wednesday.
In the world of journalism, an interview with the president is like the Super Bowl of all sit-downs. Or, in the spirit of the NCAA tournament and March Madness, we should say it’s considered the biggest dance there is to dance.
That got us thinking…just how does a network news anchor prepare for such a tremendous opportunity?
Row 2 Seat 4 wondered…does he get any sleep the night before a day like today? He’s a seasoned professional, but does he ever still get nervous? Will he wear green? (It is St. Patrick’s Day after all).
The only way to get our answers, we decided was to do an interview about the interview.
Bret kindly took time to answer Row 2 Seat 4’s questions about his big day:
1. What kind of preparation and research will you be doing to get ready? I have been talking to a number of Fox correspondents and bouncing ideas off of them. We have a “brainroom” (a research group) that has been working on some facts and figures for me…and I have been reading thousands of viewers responses—some really smart questions in the bunch.
2. There’s probably a million questions you’d want to ask, but how do you narrow down the exact questions you’ll use? I try to think of how the president will answer the questions based on his past statements and answers…and try to phrase them in a way that will get actual NEWS. It takes awhile.
3. It’s not unusual for politicians to try to stick to talking points in an interview. How will you try to keep the president from doing that? It’s a tough balance. I think I can figure out how to be respectful...but firm... and persistent.
4. You interviewed former President Bush several times, how do you anticipate this interview being different? Are you going through the same type of routine? It’s the same type of preparation... but, this is much more focused on the big issue of the week... health care reform. We’ll have other questions in there.. but, most of the 12,000 plus questions we received (so far) were about health care.
5. Even though you’ve interviewed several major figures over the years, do you ever still get nervous? Yep.. if you don’t get a little nervous... it’s time to pack it up. I think a few butterflies are good for the interview—and good for a big show...they keep you on your toes.
6. Did the White House put any restrictions on the interview? Nope. They said the president wants to talk about health care reform primarily…but, there are no restrictions on topics. The interview will be 20 minutes seated in the Blue Room…and then we’ll do a walk and talk portion of the interview through what’s called Cross Hall between the State Dining Room and the East Room.
7. How about the sleep situation the night before? I am answering these questions at 12:46am…and plan to be in bed in 30 minutes. I’ll wake up fairly early…because my 2 ½ year old son wakes up at about 6-6:30am every morning. And then I’ll head in at about 8.
8. Lastly, how do you decide what you will wear? Oh, and have you decided which fold to use for your pocket square? Haha… my wife, Amy, will have final say in the morning. But, it IS St. Patrick’s Day.. and I am Irish (and German…and so is my wife)…so…I think green will be included somewhere. The pocket square is always included.. we’ll see what Amy pulls out for me in a few hours.. she’s the fashion consultant. Please tune in.. it should be interesting!!