An update: The flight on a small regional jet to Cleveland from D.C. was an interesting one.
Chris Matthews of MSNBC said it best as he ducked (remember this is a small regional jet) his way down the aisle to his seat behind me. He said, "this feels like a high school bus." He was right: The less than 50-seat jet was filled with familiar faces making it feel like high school. The passenger list included, among others, my colleague Chris Wallace (search), Bill Bennett and CNN's Paul Begala. (I asked Paul if he had pushed his TV opponent Bob Novak down causing him to break his hip in Florida last week after the first debate... Paul denied it. He did say that Novak plans to be back at work for the debate in St Louis on Friday but that he/Paul has his doubts.)
Everyone I spoke to got the "big search" at the airport -- the one when your boarding pass has SSSS on it. Why the big search? Because we all have one-way tickets and not round trip tickets. Each person I spoke to who is from the media, or the campaign (Governor Racicot (search) who was on our show Monday night was also on the flight) is headed to St Louis in a day, or so... and not returning directly to Washington. Hence, we all have the one-way tickets to Cleveland and the SSSS to trigger the intense scrutiny at security. At least at this point our clothes are still clean. I feel sorry for security on Saturday when we board our one-way ticketed flight -- and thus SSSS -- from St Louis to Washington, DC.
You might think it odd that all of us in the media are friendly with each other since the networks compete fiercely with each other. But over the years most of us have either worked together some place, or have sat on planes together heading to some news event.
A very quick note this morning since I have to rush to the airport. I am leaving earlier today than last week for Miami for presidential debate (search) number one. Last week I almost had a stroke headed to the airport — traffic was at a dead stop for an hour because of some suspicious package at the Watergate Hotel. It turned out to be nothing but made all the commuters almost crazy. I barely made the plane and this was true of all the other passengers since we all ran into the same problem.
Here is the week's plan for "On the Record:" Tuesday night we are in Cleveland for the VP debate. Wednesday it is on to NYC for two nights of shows and then on Friday it is on to St. Louis for the second debate between President Bush and Senator Kerry. Tonight we test the loyalty of our East Coast viewers to the show — we are on at midnight Eastern Time. And yes, lots of coffee will be drunk by those of us who work on the show (if I slur my words, it is the fatigue, not alcohol!)
If I don't drive everyone nuts with my camera, I will take behind the scenes pics of the debate tonight.
Here are some e-mails from Monday night:
E-mail No. 1:
I had to watch your show on TIVO tonight. (What a wonderful invention!) Since I tend to write to you on matters of a serious nature, I thought I might lighten it up a bit. I just thought that you should have saved your outfit that you wore tonight (Monday) for your show in Cleveland. You would have gained a lot of favor from Browns fans! Enjoy your time in Cleveland.
ANSWER: I had on brown last night....
E-mail No. 2:
I enjoyed your pictures. Thank you for sharing them. Is this really the way it is during some event coverage? The pictures portray busy activity and absolutely no privacy. Where do you rest, close your eyes, catch your breath, etc? Thanks again! PGM
ANSWER: I sleep on planes. My neck chronically hurts from planes, but I can fall asleep before the plane pulls away from the jetway.
E-mail No. 3:
We are in a time like no other in our history, so I don't understand why people continue to say the Vice Presidential Debates, and who the Vice President is doesn't matter. It is my belief that these debates should matter more now than ever. I don't know, call me crazy, but with the constant threat to our President, our Country and our government officials, I would think people would be paying more attention to who the Vice President is likely to be, and give the utmost thought and consideration to who they want to lead the Country should the unthinkable happen and something happens to our President?
E-mail No. 4:
Dear On the Record,
I thought the presentation tonight of Ferraro vs. the Governor regarding the upcoming VP debates was predictable. We already knew what the two of them were going to say, so why waste airtime on them? If it's the 'fair and balanced' thing, then how about some challenging views that are insightful? You might as well of had Sean Penn and Rush Limbaugh on instead (it may have been more entertaining).
What would you think about having on random guests to state why they are voting a certain way rather than recycling the same people we have been saturated with? Why not get two athletes, two Boy Scouts, teachers, etc. etc. We already know what the DNC & RNC followers are going to say. Let's hear how people have reasoned this thing out for themselves.
Also, what do you plan on doing once the Scott Peterson trial is over? I've really tried to give your show a chance, but to me, you re-hash everything already covered by the two shows before you and then it seems you add in the Scott Peterson coverage as filler. Could you please add some creativity to your show?
Thanks for reading,
ANSWER: Scott, you're welcome for reading your e-mail. And second, glad you watch the show.
Do you have something you'd like to say to Greta? Please write to her at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Watch "On the Record with Greta Van Susteren" weeknights at 10 p.m. ET