"Hello, Senator Obama. Can you hear me?"
"Hey there, Mister Obama. How's it goin'?"
"Heeeey, Barack. How YOU doin'?"
Today, in between writing scripts and watching video on the CNN server, I would occasionally offer up an out-loud greeting to one of the nation's presidential candidates.
Sometimes I'd say it in my "normal" voice. Other times I'd say it in my "telephone" voice (doesn't everyone sound a bit more professional over the phone?) and still other times I would say it in my phone sex voice (a completely different kind of over-the-phone professional).
These little rehearsals were brought on after I discovered I would be the producer on deck during a live satellite interview between one of our anchors and the Democratic presidential candidate.
Typically the producer will speak to the talent (i.e. the interviewee) in their earpiece to make sure they are getting an audio signal from our tv station.
And so all day long I was giddy at the thought that my vocal cords would echo inside my voice box and transmit a sound directly through a phone line and into Senator Barack Obama's ear canal.
Granted, ours was not to be a personal discussion on politics as I see the world, actually it wasn't going to be a conversational exchange at all. It was going to be more of a single question with a one or two-word response yes, thank you. Regardless, I was thrilled about the idea that I was going to personally speak with a presidential candidate.
What up, B?
The interview was scheduled to start eight minutes after my 4 pm newscast finished.
I eyed the clock as I cleared my throat, simultaneously giggling and practicing breathy "Well, hello there" greetings. My brain raced through a littany of ideas - what if I spewed out my phone number after checking his IFB? What if I asked Barack for a job? What if I waxed poetic about his handsome looks?
My professionalism and utter fear of embarrassment overrode any idea of entertaining a wild hair I might have had about the scenario.
The colorbars disappeared and Senator Obama's striking face came up on the monitor.
People kept streaming in to studio control - the news director, a couple engineers, a promotions producer. Another director. People just kept coming in and I knew I'd be totally self conscious about whatever I said to the Senator.
The outside line rang. It was Mr. Obama's people in Washington asking whether we were ready on our end for the start of the interview. I said we had just finished a newscast and our anchors were switching out on the set. We'd be ready once my anchor was mic'd up and had his IFB plugged in to the box.
Looking at the handsome face.
And that's when Washington asked, "Yeah. So, can you please have your anchor speak to Senator Obama before the interview starts so they can get acquainted and make sure they each hear each other."
And there it was - any chance I had of talking to Senator Obama - gone. Sure, I could have done a gratuitous Hey there, just checking to make sure you're getting our air but I knew it wasn't necessary and he would have known it wasn't necessary and then Mr. Obama would have just regarded me as some silly producer in Cincinnati who maybe didn't know what she was doing.
So I didn't say a thing.
One of the assignment desk editors told me afterwards that she has put in a request for any and every satellite interview offered by any of the presidential candidates.
So I didn't get Barack this time. But maybe next time it will be Senator McCain or Senator Clinton - both equally exciting options, too.
He will always be the one who got away.