[Ed. Note: Yesterday the 'Weekend GMA' anchors fielded phone calls from viewers after the show.]First, it was a lot of fun which I didn’t expect. Also, strangely it was very tiring. You TALK a lot when you’re taking calls for almost 3 hours! People asked all kinds of things — some predictable, but most wildly unpredictable. Here’s a sampling of the questions (and answers).What’s the hardest story you ever had to cover? I said the McCain campaign because the assignment lasted 14 months.Your favorite movie? “Casablanca” and “Bridge on the River Kwai.” I picked two even though I was told — twice — to keep it to one. Least favorite movie? I said anything with Ben Affleck in it, but I should have added except “The Town,” in which he was very good.How do you not get emotionally affected telling stories about terrible things that happen to people? I said we are affected but have a professional responsibility not to react in that way.
What time do you get up? My first of four alarms goes off at 3:25 am on weekends — never a pleasant moment no matter how much sleep I’ve gotten.
What do you do in your time off? There was a long answer that I’ll spare you, but the short version is golf.
What’s your favorite childhood memory? I said winning a harmonica in a raffle when I was about 5 and the first time I successfully rode a bike. It was exhilarating. I remember it like it was yesterday and it was many yesterdays ago.
Is the weekend window ever coming back? No (that’s per our senior producer Matt)
Someone even asked my advice on starting a business manufacturing clothing? I said I didn’t know then suggested coming up with a business plan and call the Small Business Administration.
In my phone calls, I tried to make it more of a conversation than just answering their questions. I’d ask the caller the same questions they asked me. What’s THEIR favorite movie? What do they like to eat for breakfast? The woman who asked about favorite childhood memories even told me hers. She was in her seventies and told me she was about 10 and found some Indian arrowheads on her family’s property in rural Virginia. She still has them on her mantle and remembers vividly the excitement of finding them. It was actually very emotional call.
And one caller from Sylacauga, Alabama, asked what I like for breakfast other than ice cream. I told her I ate grits, bacon and eggs virtually every day growing up — a Southern breakfast because my mother is from Talladega, Alabama. She asked what her maiden name was. I told her it’s Strickland. She said, “We know a lot of Stricklands in Talladega.” It turns out, she said, that her mother was a friend of my late Uncle Bob of Talladega.
Finally, I heard again and again that the callers enjoyed how well Bianna, Dan and I get along (who knew!?!?) and several cited it as a prelude to complaining about political bickering in Washington… which is why, in this e-mail, I am announcing my candidacy for the presidential nomination of BOTH PARTIES! Oh yes we can!