Yesterday, CBS News announced a new Presidential candidate interview series, beginning tonight, called "Primary Questions: Character, Leadership & the Candidates" wherein Katie Couric will pose ten Proust questionnaire-type questions to presidential candidates. The questions include "When was the last time you lost your temper?" "What's the biggest mistake you've ever made?" and "What's the worst piece of advice you've ever given another person?" (Hmmm. How 'bout Rudy Giuliani to Bernie Kerik: "Judith Regan? Go for it!"). The same ten questions will be asked of every candidate — a nice efficiency for CBS, not to have to write new, candidate-specific up-to-date questions for each interviewee, though we think the question about marital infidelity may have been targeted — and will run over the next two months.
Though Couric has clearly been collecting these interviews in recent weeks (each installment will feature one question and all the candidates' answers), she's nonetheless weeks behind her counterparts, Brian Williams and Charlie Gibson, each of whom have their own presidential interview series well under way. Williams was first with his "Making of a President" series, launching with Barack Obama on Sept. 17th, followed by Giuliani and John Edwards, with plans for sit-downs with Mitt Romney and Hillary Clinton next, according to a source at NBC. Gibson's "Who Is...?" series kicked off on Oct. 4th with Bill Richardson, and has the most belt-notches so far with almost-weekly installments featuring Edwards, Obama, Giuliani, Mike Huckabee, John McCain, and Fred Thompson thus far.
- Most impressive person you've ever met? Romney, McCain, Giuliani, and Huckabee: Ronald Reagan (drink!); Clinton, Obama, Biden, Richardson: Nelson Mandela; Edwards, Thompson: "My dad."
- What are you most afraid of losing? McCain: America. He remembers living without it once, and man, did he miss it.
- Biggest mistake? Obama was a wild teenager! He drank and tried drugs. Hillary Clinton has that in a file somewhere. Edwards picked his Iraq war vote; Couric asked for an alternative because "that could be seen as kind of political." Er, right. Just kind of.
- One book to take to the White House, other than the Bible? Hillary Clinton: "I would certainly bring my copy of the Constitution, because there apparently was not a copy in the Bush White House." Zing! Then she chose The Federalist Papers...just like Giuliani, who made a point of saying that he had THREE copies. Fave book ever! After the Bible, of course.