We are used to a dizzying amount of terror news, but this lengthy run on weather catastrophes is brand new. Now, with all your focus on Hurricane Rita (search), lets call an audible and talk Katrina.
On Monday night I was able to go out to Giants Stadium and get a first hand feel of the emotion in the house as the New Orleans Saints came to town. I had a chance to interview the commissioner of the NFL, who talked about why the game was shifted to New Jersey and also gave an inside look at his elaborate fundraising plans. No organization can put together major events like the National Football League. Brian McCarthy helped me grab just about all the big time names, including Paul Tagliabue (search), and walked him over as we were on the air. I don't think anything is more enjoyable then having that happen while you're in a live shot on location. I'm not sure if the news division was as thrilled as I was, but I do not think you can go wrong with the most powerful person in sports.
The big news was the time that former President Bush (41) set aside for an exclusive one-on-one before his ceremonial coin toss. It was a gamble: Try to get him live at 6.45 p.m. and risk him being mobbed and not coming over, or get locked in as he entered the stadium suites. I chose the latter and it really worked. Tom Frecette, his key aide, made the conversation happen as he did at the Super Bowl and I am soooo appreciative. I did get to ask him about his partner in charity — Bill Clinton's (search) — attack on his son over the weekend. He ripped back at Bill by saying maybe I'll do the same to Hillary when she runs and indicated how much Democrats love to raise taxes. He did bring to the fray how President Clinton did not take make it personal, unlike The New York Times and many major magazines. This is true, but when Clinton says we rushed to war and Saddam had no evidence of WMD, I wanted to throw up in my mouth. He knew he had them and is quoted saying Saddam had WMD and he could not get him to keep inspectors in country — let alone get them to finish the job as he says this president should have done. Blaming deficits on this president's economic policy — not a Wall Street scandal, 9/11 attacks and the rebuilding of Afghanistan (which he let become a terror den) — is a joke. Question: Why rip "W" now? I think even 41 was shocked!
How irresponsible does the mayor of New Orleans look now? Inviting thousands of residents back into an uninhabitable city? He will blame Hurricane Rita, but I think it's more likely that the president, Vice Admiral Thad Allen (search) and Andy Card sobered him up. But you do get a sense of the type of leader you have in that city — lets just says he's no Rudy! The former mayor of New York City has never looked better then he does right now.
On Tuesday's show it was especially great to get New York Giant Tiki Barber's take on his game and the events that surrounded it along with his time before the game at the stadium where he made his predictions (on the money) on the outcome. It was also great to see Arthel Neville — few are better on camera and few are more knowledgeable of New Orleans. She's going back home for "Current Affair" and we hope to tap her too!
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