Storytime! Gather ’round the internet campfire, grab some popcorn or booze, and prepare yourself for a true tale.
The year was 2008 and the Presidential campaign was hotly contested on the Democratic side. Illinois Senator Barack Obama was up against former First Lady Hillary Clinton. Both traversed the country, engaging in the traditional shaking of hands and kissing of babies. Don’t reverse those two ideas–it’s unsavory and illegal I think.
The curb stomping is how I found myself at my second Hillary Clinton rally in less than a month in April of 2008. To clarify, I was acting in my official capacity as a reporter for WIBC Radio. Because Indiana had traditionally voted Republican no matter who the Democrats put up for decades, Clinton and Obama made lots of stops in the “Crossroads of America.”
Anyway, the now-presumptive Democratic Presidential nominee spoke to a crowd of thousands at the War Memorial in the heart of downtown Indianapolis. It was a particularly warm April day in Indianapolis, as summer had crept in early.
The night before the rally, work called and asked if I would be willing to interview Hillary Clinton. As a local journalist, this was a fairly big deal. After her speech, I would be given five minutes to speak with her one-on-one. Let’s be honest–I jumped at the chance. I was a journalist and face time with a Presidential candidate is not something you turn down.
I stood on the media platform with my compatriots as Clinton tried to rally her supporters ahead of the Indiana Primary (which is always held in May). After the speech, I was escorted indoors to what looked like a meeting room.
There she sat, clad in (no shock) a pants suit. She smiled at me and her handler made the introduction. Not going to lie–my heart was pounding in my chest. We sat across from each other and I began to roll tape.
She stared at me for a second and before I could get into my list of questions, she said, “Devon-did you wear sunblock today?”
I was gobsmacked. I’d never had a politician, or any interview subject for that matter, ever ask me about sunblock. Sheepishly, I replied, “no.”
“I think your face might be sunburned,” she responded. “Do you have some aloe at home?” I nodded, really caught off guard. She then explained that her daughter Chelsea had been known to get face burn because she’s also pretty pale.
We then resumed the interview, with her talking about her still-alive hope to be the 2008 candidate. When the five minutes were up, she was gracious and gave me a stern reminder to put aloe on my face.
Sure enough, one look in the mirror at work confirmed it-I was Devon, the Red-Nosed/Red-Cheeked Reporter.
Whatever you might think about her, at least she was nice enough to tell me I was sunburnt.