AAN paper only local media granted exit interview.
As Bill Clinton concluded his final visit as President to his home state, Arkansas Times Editor Max Brantley was seated in the press van along with his local competition, and he had a secret. He was the only local reporter who would be granted a one-on-one interview with Clinton during the final minutes of his six-hour visit.
So when the veteran newsman returned to the van after his 15-minute exclusive, he saw the shock on the faces of his competitors when they realized they’d been scooped.
It was the highlight of Brantley’s day.
The 1,100-word article published in the Jan. 19 edition of the Times touches briefly on many topics, ranging from Al Gore’s inability to carry Arkansas to the unfinished work in the Middle East peace process. Brantley admits that the article is light on news, but he’s satisfied that he was able to ask a few tough questions in a limited time frame.
“It was pretty exciting that we got the opportunity,” Brantley said. “I got a one-on-one. I had his full, undivided attention for about 15 minutes.”
Brantley admits that he had a few advantages.
“The fact is, [the Arkansas Times has] been generally supportive of [Clinton’s] politics, which the [local daily] hasn’t,” he said.
Also, Brantley has covered Clinton’s career for 26 years and his wife worked for Clinton while he was governor. Brantley even remembers when the governor visited his home to see his newborn child. After Clinton left, Brantley told his mother-in-law, “You’ll get your chance to vote for him for president one day.”
Turns out it was two days.