On a crisp and sun-drenched October morning in 2004, several of us from the newsroom headed to Kennebunkport for a big interview—correction, a BIG interview—that we’d been trying to bring about for years. It was a conversation with the 41st president of the United States, George Herbert Walker Bush.
It went well. The president, having left the White House more than a decade before, had long since cast away its cares and burdens. “I used to love politics,” he wrote in 1996. “Now I love politics no more.” Interviews with politicians who are out of the game for good are often the most revealing, and in this one Mr. Bush did not disappoint. When I asked him for his thoughts on filmmaker Michael Moore—who had just made “Fahrenheit 9-11,” a movie scathingly critical of then-President George W. Bush and his conduct of the war in Iraq—41’s response was immediate. “Total ass,” he said. That remark got picked up by other news organizations and made headlines across the country.
When the interview was over, we packed up and headed back to the station because we still had a busy day ahead. That evening we broadcast 207 live from Oxford County. It may have been the day that, more than any other, perfectly captured the range of stories we cover. At 10:00 in the morning, I was talking to the former leader of the free world. At 7:25 in the evening, I was broadcasting from a fried dough stand at the Fryeburg Fair. Only in Maine, folks, only in Maine.