Deep thoughts, random insights, and musings by Susan Jacobs

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Senator Lieberman, I presume

This evening, Joe Lieberman came to Pittsburgh, to my synagogue, to help swing some Jewish voters over to Kerry. Being the roving reporter I am, I was on the scene, notebook in hand, and boy was it fun.

I got to my shul about 10 minutes before Lieberman was scheduled to arrive -- he ended up being about a half hour late. One of the event organizers took down my name and told me I would have the chance to ask Lieberman some questions before he spoke, which was a pleasant surprise. While waiting for Lieberman to arrive, I schmoozed with the Chronicle photographer, and with some journalists visiting from, of all places, Croatia. There were about four of them, and one was trying to teach the others some Hebrew. He was instructing the others to say, "Boker Tov" to Lieberman, until I pointed out that "Good morning" wasn't really appropriate at supper time. I recommended they stick to "Shalom."

In the meantime, what seemed like half the Jewish community was gradually showing up at the shul, and several people stopped to ask me if I was there on "official business."

Finally, the senator arrived, and was quickly ushered out of sight to allow him a few minutes to collect himself (he was coming from another campaign event). When he came out, he walked over to where I was standing and said, "You must be Susan Jacobs." I blinked, I gulped, I nodded, I smiled. My stomach did a little dance.

Now, clearly this was one of those carefully finessed political moments, where his staff had told him just a moment before that he would be speaking to a reporter named Susan Jacobs, but boy was it flattering to have Joe Lieberman introducing himself to me.

Thankfully, I was able to collect myself enough to ask him the two questions I had prepared. I asked if he thought that Kerry had lost a lot of the Jewish vote to Bush this year because of the perception that Bush is good for Israel. He said we'll have to see, and said Kerry is better on other issues that are important to Jews. Then I asked if he thinks the election will be as close as the polls are predicting. He said, "I hope not. I don't want the country to go through what we went through four years ago again." That was it. I thanked him, and then he moved on to the Croatian team before going into the social hall for his speech. I didn't try to ask him anything more substantive because I knew I wouldn't have much time with him, and because I knew he probably wouldn't say anything that candid anyway. And, I knew I didn't have the nerves to speak to him for more than a couple of minutes. I was happy just to listen to what he had to say.

He spoke very well -- lots of Jewish references thrown in, and the audience, for the most part, really ate it up. It was lots of fun, and getting to cover it made me feel really important.


  • At October 29, 2004 at 7:14 AM, Blogger Esther Kustanowitz said…

    What a terrific story, Susan! So glad you're posting again. And good suggestion about the "Shalom" vs. "Boker tov"...

    Isn't being a writer fun? Get to interview all these famous people, or in my case, semi-famous people...

    OK, I'm off to interview one of the firees from the Apprentice. Later!

  • At October 30, 2004 at 5:26 PM, Blogger Susan said…

    Thanks, Esther. Being a writer is loads of fun -- I am loving my job.

  • At November 14, 2004 at 4:09 PM, Blogger carologic said…

    Well of course he knew you about you - you are after all THE Susan Jacobs. :-)

    Glad it went well - what fun - too bad it didn't work out in the end.


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