Thursday, August 16, 2007

Impeachment Day

The MOTH is a not-for-profit storytelling organization founded in New York in 1997 by poet and novelist, George Dawes Green, who was inspired by storytelling summer evenings on his friend's porch in Georgia. The first "Moth" took place in his New York apartment and then spread to bigger venues in the city. Today, The Moth conducts six ongoing programs and has brought more than 2,000 live stories to over 60,000 audience members. One, in particular, caught my attention this morning when I was listening to a podcast of This American Life on my way to work.

Joe Lockhart served as White House Press Secretary from October 5, 1998 to September 29, 2000 during the administration of President Bill Clinton. He handled the press during the Clinton impeachment trials. He has told stories from his time on the job—live onstage at The Moth in New York City. One hilarious tale, best heard on audio, was aptly named, Impeachment Day.

Here's a quote:

"I’m telling you, you don’t know anxiety until you’ve woken up as the White House press secretary on your first foreign trip at 6:15 AM, in Moscow, without a passport, knowing you’ve missed Air Force One. Now, the only good thing that I could think of was, the day couldn’t get worse. I was wrong."

The best part of the story is that Lockhart missed Air Force One because he'd spent the previous night drinking at a Moscow pub until 5am. The story just gets better, including a reference to Bill Clinton as the "Presidential Ass" and a meeting with Bono. Who knew the White House staff could have such character!


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