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In early June of 2004, I got a call from Elizabeth Brackett, our NewsHour correspondent in Chicago, and a longtime friend.  0727starobama3-1“Hey!  Let me do a story on Barack Obama.  He’s running for Senate, and you’ve never seen anything like this guy!  He’s phenomenal.  Axelrod is running his campaign, and he can get me the interviews.”

We knew David Axelrod from his days as a political columnist for the Chicago Tribune, and knew he had good political sense. 0727staraxel2 I was convinced, but my bosses wouldn’t buy a story on an unknown Illinois Senate candidate.  One month later, when Obama was asked to deliver the keynote address at the Democratic National Convention in Boston, Elizabeth called me again.  This time, I was able to give her the thumbs up!  She produced a good story with local voices, including that of wife, Michelle.  0727starmichelleI’m sure it was the first television story about Barack Obama to air nationally, and we positioned it in the NewsHour’s convention coverage just before he delivered his speech.  The rest, as they say, is history.  tipofthehatebayBeing there first also helped us secure the first interview with Obama immediately after he left the convention podium.  It kind of made us look like we knew what we were doing.  And so, Elizabeth, thanx and a hat tip!

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