PR is big business. And tracking stories is often difficult. Sometimes the biggest hits don't appear on your radar. I diligently follow up on interviews I give and many of the photos that are taken by photographers from prominent media. But that doesn't mean I can unearth all the publicity.
When I attended the Democratic Debate Scene in Detroit, the Washington Post printed a photograph taken by Jeff Kowalsky (Agence France-Presse/Getty Images). The print size with short explanation filled a space 4.5 x 5 inches. Did this come up on my radar? It did not. I only found out about it when I visited DC and had dinner with a cousin and her husband months later. She had seen it and clipped it out of the paper. Even after I had the newsprint in my hand I could not locate it through an online search.
When I was in Los Angeles last week for the Democratic Debate Scene there, I was interviewed by many journalists including Angie Crouch from NBC Channel 4. I did a search to see if any of the footage was used and came up with nothing. But a friend of one of my daughters texted her to tell her he had just seen her mother on Channel 4 News! I called the station to see if they could provide me with a link but was told they did not offer that service.
I guess I have to be content knowing that I am casting a broader net than may initially be apparent. And that's OK!
After flying out to Los Angeles for the Democratic debate scene, I decided to take the train home. It was a once in a lifetime experience to see the dramatic scenery as the train sped from state to state. I enjoyed talking with people at meals in the dining car and in the observation car. Downside – over two days with no Internet! It’s impossible to understand how Amtrak does not include this on the ride. It is only days away from 2020.
In the "Good Ole Days" it was common for presidents and presidential candidates to make whistle-stop tours where they would campaign, making short whistle-stop speeches at numerous train stations. One of the most famous railroad cars used in the United States for whistle-stop tours during the last century was the Ferdinand Magellan. Custom made in 1928 by the Pullman Company, it was officially known as the "U.S. No. 1 Presidential Railcar." The car was used by Harry Truman, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Dwight Eisenhower. First lady Mamie Eisenhower rode it from Washington DC to Groton CT to christen the world’s first nuclear-powered submarine. It was brought out of retirement for one day for Ronald Reagan who used it in 1984.
Every major stop I was out making an appearance, talking
with people and singing a few verses from 2020: The Musical. Each of these stops lasted about 15 minutes.
Los Angeles, CA
La Junta, CO
Kansas City, MO
I had planned to make appearances while I was on the Wolverine train from Chicago to Ann Arbor. Unfortunately the train left late, which meant major stops along the route (Michigan City IN, Kalamazoo MI, Battle Creek MI and Jackson MI)lasted about two minutes each, which precluded leaving the train. A group of disappointed fans in Michigan City wanted to board the train to meet me but the conductor told them there was no time. The conductor seemed amused when he relayed their good wishes to me, pleased to have a "celebrity" on board.
It's not every day one celebrates their birthday on a 2200 mile plus train ride across the country! I had a sheet cake made and brought it on board for the celebration, which took place at 2 PM on December 22nd in the observation car.
Raquel Benitez, my seat mate, was all in to help with the celebration. Here she is serving cake!
Making my way back to Ann Arbor from Los Angeles. The Amtrak
Wolverine train left Chicago late due to technical difficulties. As a
result, the amount of time spent at different stations was reduced in an effort
to make up time. At Michigan City IN, a group of fans came to see me, but the
train was there for only two minutes. No time to go out to sing and talk with
those interested in meeting me.
reported members of a group at the station wanted to meet me and were disappointed
when they were told it was not possible. Once the train was on its way to the
next stop, the conductor came to tell me what had transpired. He and the
assistant conductor were clearly amused that they had a “celebrity” on board
when they relayed the wishes for good luck and success tendered by the crowd at