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If you watched our inaugural ball (search) coverage, you had a chance to see the President and Mrs. Bush enter and dance at several balls. But I am not sure how much you got to see of Vice President Cheney and Mrs. Cheney... so, today if you click on the link in the video box above, you can see my video of their appearance at the Democracy Ball. I shot the video from our "set" — we had a set about 30 feet from the stage. The Vice President and Mrs. Cheney were the "warm up act" in some ways — getting the crowd ready for the appearances of President Bush and Mrs. Bush which occurred 15 minutes later. From the video, you can tell the crowd loved seeing the Vice President and Mrs. Cheney. For you trivia lovers, Mrs. Cheney worked at CNN years ago when both Reverend Jesse Jackson (search) and I worked there. Mrs. Cheney is probably the only person I have ever gone from referring to in the familiar (Lynne) the formal (Mrs. Cheney.) Usually it is the other way around!
From the video you can see the crowd has pushed up tight to the stage to see the Vice President and Mrs. Cheney. They did not stay long — neither did the President and Mrs. Bush — because they had to "hit" every ball in town to thank their supporters and thus were spread thin.
What surprised us from our set was that the crowd stood at the stage for almost two hours before the vice president and the president arrived. That is a long time — like kids at a concert, only this crowd was in eveningwear. Each was anxious to try and get a good look and thus each was willing to stand there for a long time.
Another odd thing: Once the two couples arrived, people raised their cell phones to take pictures. That is a new "thing" — we didn't have that technology four years ago (and imagine what George Washington would think!)
Another interesting thing — and you can see this in the video — was that they had erected big screens so that even those in the back could see well.
President Bush showed up an hour early — President Clinton was always an hour late — and while the crowd was happy about the early arrival, we would have preferred an "on schedule" arrival. Why? Because we plan our shows around schedules. Of course, that's just our tough luck and we are lucky to have the chance to cover these balls.
People asked me how we booked our three-hour show and here is the behind the scenes info: We had bookers/producers posted in the six balls in the convention center. They literally "collared" people and brought them to our set. I had guests sit down for interviews whose names I did not know and I would have the booker/producer write the name on my legal pad on my lap. The booker/producer could not tell me since I had a special earpiece in both ears to totally drown out the ambient noise so that I could do my job. I felt like I was in a sensory deprivation tube for three hours since I could hear nothing except the mikes from my guests and my New York producer giving me time cues etc.
Two nights earlier at the FOX bureau I had run into former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich. I begged him to come do our three-hour show, but the ball he was attending was not in the D.C. Convention Center and getting to our ball would be a nightmare since the city was to be locked down. To entice him — and to tease him — I said that if he did show up, I would sing "On Wisconsin" with his wife (also from Wisconsin) on camera. He said he would show up if I did that. I laughed, since of course I did not expect him to show up for our show.
You can imagine my surprise when I was doing our three-hour show from the ball, with my ears totally plugged and the booker ushers the Speaker to the chair next to me. I looked over and saw his wife ... I did not know if the Speaker would hold me to my promise. Fortunately, I was lucky. He did not. He was just willing to do me a favor.
Most surprising was how soon the party ended. I had expected the party to go on for hours but it pretty much closed up after President Bush left.
Finally a few e-mails from viewers:
E-mail No. 1
I was immediately taken aback when I read in the Blog that your photo essay included a close up of the media security badge. I went straight to the photo. Given that this is a security issue, don't you think it's irresponsible to paste a close up photo of same on the World Wide Web for all to see? How difficult do you think it would be for a layperson to reproduce the credentials now that they've seen a close-up? I think it's a mistake to presume that polling places in the U.S. for the Iraqi elections are not under some risk of violence.
Is there something you can share with us that should eliminate these concerns?
E-mail No. 2 — If you watched our three-hour show from the Democracy Ball, you met my special guest Shauna Fleming. She e-mailed me and I thought you should see it. See:
I wanted to say thank you... "A Million Thanks" for letting me talk about my letter campaign AMillionThanks.org.
Because of you and FOX News, I am going to receive thousands of extra thank you letters and Valentines to send to our troops. My e-mail and Web site went crazy! Also, putting my Web site on your Blog site has made you my No. 1 referral site.
Thanks again. I know the troops say thanks too.
E-mail No. 3
Just wondering if I had missed something — has there been any news on the couple who sold the boat (for cash) that they were living on and then disappeared leaving personal items behind. The last I heard was that their car had been found. And I try to never miss your show.
Tell Hammer I miss him. LOL
ANSWER: We check every day for updates and there is nothing new. We check on other stories — the Federal Prosecutor Jonathan Luna, the two murdered women in Napa Valley, Rilya (missing child in Florida), etc. As soon as we get some information, we will tell you on the show or post on the blog.
E-mail No. 4
It was interesting to read the reaction of e-mailers on your blog to the subject of IVF. I, myself, married a man who had a kidney transplant and could not, because of complications, "have" a baby. I was young and healthy and fertile. We decided to go for it and try a couple rounds of IVF to try to have children. I'm so thankful we did! We have boy-girl twins who are perfect and beautiful and are ours. We would have adopted children if unsuccessful. I don't believe we were "right", nor do I agree w/ the lady who thinks she and her husband were "right" because they adopted. Bottom line is we all have children that we would not have had if not for fertility issues. And we are all grateful God grant us the honor of raising His children. So, stop the judging and start living your own life w/your own family and taking responsibility for your own actions & not that of others.
E-mail No. 5
I watch your show most nights and am sorry to have missed your interview with Ms. Margolis. Having read the e-mail from Denise Burne Fein, I really had to write. I am also an adoptive mother. Our daughter was adopted from Colombia 24 years ago. She is the most precious gift we could have ever received in our lifetime. I still cry when I think of that five-week old pink bundle presented to us. I kept looking back as we left the agency, not believing that she was really ours and we would truly begin our new lives together. It has been and continues to be a fantastic journey. I do feel, however, that not all people are able to become adoptive parents and this where I disagree with Mrs. Fein's rant. Everyone must do what is right for them. You must be open and honest to adopt. You must want it more than you want anything in this world. You must be able to live with and not care if you ever carry a child. For us, it was right. For others it isn't. I never carried our child under my heart. I carried her in it. Always have, always will.
E-mail No. 6
Denise's e-mail really stirred me up regarding the infertility segment. At the very least, it was extremely cruel. While I congratulate Denise on her decision to adopt and it certainly sounds like those boys are being raised in an extremely loving home, it was also Cindy's personal decision to take her journey. I've never had a child naturally, but I did marry a single father with a 6-year-old son. This boy has been, and continues to be, such a joy. He has now doubly blessed us with the most wonderful grandson who is 11 months old. Don't get me started or I'll be e-mailing pictures of this kid. But seriously, the only rule is there are no rules. We all have to figure out what's right for each of us and if it doesn't break the law, either legally or morally, then push on.
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