Roger L. Simon

Barack goes to Iraq: Dan Rather, eat your heart out

When I read the following in the NYT, all I could think of was Dan Rather:

Senator John McCain’s trip to Iraq last spring was a low-key affair: With his ordinary retinue of reporters following him abroad, the NBC News anchor Brian Williams reported on his arrival in Baghdad from New York, with just two sentences tacked onto the “in other political news” portion of his newscast.

But when Obama heads for Iraq and other locations overseas this summer, Williams is planning to catch up with him in person, as are the other two evening news anchors, Charles Gibson of ABC and Katie Couric of CBS, who, like Williams, are far along in discussions to interview Obama on successive nights.

And while the anchors are jockeying for interviews with Obama at stops along his route, the regulars on the Obama campaign plane will have new seat mates: star political reporters from the major newspapers and magazines who are flocking to catch Obama’s first overseas trip since becoming the presumptive nominee of his party.

Poor Dan, deprived of a junket like this by a bunch of bloggers. [What’s he going to do with all those flak jackets?-ed.  Recycle.] In any case, Obama, a man who has spent an extraordinary percentage of his adult life running for office, is headed for Iraq to burnish his foreign policy bona fides in the company of an entourage of those same hoity-toity tuches kissers that boosted his campaign in the first place.  Sounds like a great prescription for “fact-finding,” doesn’t it?  [Actually, it would make a good premise for a black comedy à la Paddy Chayevsky.-ed.  You know, you’re right for once. Who gets caught in bed with Katie Couric?]