NBC's Campbell Brown Yucks It Up With Bush Bashing Poet

<p><img hspace="0" src="media/2006-0620-NBCBrownA.jpg" align="right" border="0" />NBC's Campbell Brown couldn't contain her laughter this morning as The Nation’s liberal columnist Calvin Trillin poked fun at George W. Bush. Promoting his new collection of poems A Heckuva Job: More of the Bush Administration In Rhyme, Trillin cracked up Today show co-host Brown with such old poetic knee-slappers as: &quot;Obliviously on he sails with marks not quite as good as Quayle's.&quot; Brown went on to praise Trillin's latest work as &quot;great stuff&quot; and predicted, &quot;It's going to be a hilarious book.&quot; Brown even urged Trillin to recite verses from A Heckuva Job: </p><blockquote dir="ltr" style="MARGIN-RIGHT: 0px"><p>Brown: &quot;But the new, the title of your book came from what you, perhaps feel, is the President's most memorable line thus far?&quot;</p><p>Trillin: &quot;I think it's gonna stick with him in the way that, 'The only thing we have to fear is fear itself,' has stuck with Franklin D. Roosevelt. I think, 'Brownie you're doing a heckuva job,' to the FEMA chief Michael Brown, the former Commissioner of Judges in the International Arabian Horses...&quot;</p><p>Brown: &quot;In the middle of Hurricane Katrina.&quot;</p><p>Trillin: &quot;Yes I think that will be what's linked with him throughout history.&quot;</p><p>Brown: &quot;Read from the book for us. I know you've got a little section here that's actually some verse you wrote sort of after that, a follow to Brownie's 'Heckuva job' comment.&quot;</p><p>Trillin: &quot;Yeah. The, the, well I guessed you'd call the title poem is Further Words By Bush To Michael Brown. 'A qualified guy, I wish I had added. Your resume super even if padded. We wanted the best to lead FEMA's forces and who would know more than a man who knows horses. You saw that the storm was more than some showers and sent off a memo in four or five hours. You found out the life in the Dome was not super and only a day after Anderson Cooper. A heckuva job, you know how to lead 'em, we hope to award you the Medal of Freedom.'&quot;</p><p>Brown laughing: &quot;It is, it's very funny the way you write but it's also, there is anger here. I mean is that what inspires you? Is that how you choose the material? The things that you get really mad about?&quot;</p></blockquote><p><img hspace="0" src="media/2006-0620-NBCTrillin.jpg" align="right" border="0" />In teasing the segment at 8:30 am Brown, along with Matt Lauer professed to be fans of Trillin's: </p><blockquote dir="ltr" style="MARGIN-RIGHT: 0px"><p>Brown: &quot;We've also got bestselling author Calvin Trillin. He's got a new book. He is taking poetic license poking some fun at President Bush and the Bush administration so he's gonna be here and he's always quite funny.&quot;</p><p>Matt Lauer: &quot;He is.&quot;</p></blockquote><p>The following is the entire interview with Trillin: </p><blockquote dir="ltr" style="MARGIN-RIGHT: 0px"><p>Campbell Brown: &quot;Bestselling writer Calvin Trillin isn't a big fan of the Bush administration and he doesn't think there's a lot of rhyme or reason to what they do so he is using rhyme once again to take on the powers-that-be and he has just released a collection of his poems called A Heckuva Job: More of the Bush Administration in Rhyme. And Calvin Trillin, good morning to you.&quot;</p><p>Calvin Trillin: &quot;Good morning.&quot;</p><p>Brown: &quot;So this is a follow-up to your 2004 bestseller which was Obliviously On He Sails: The Bush Administration In Rhyme.&quot;</p><p>Trillin: &quot;Right.&quot;</p><p>Brown: &quot;So I'm guessing that means it, there was no shortage of material here for you, huh?&quot;</p><p>Trillin: &quot;No actually Obliviously On He Sails was half of a poem, that title. It was a poem I wrote during the 2000 campaign when George Bush's college transcript was revealed and the whole poem was 'Obliviously on he sails with marks not quite as good as Quayle's.'</p><p>Brown laughing: &quot;Okay.&quot;</p><p>Trillin: &quot;But now I find myself sort of nostalgic for Quayle.&quot;</p><p>Brown laughing: &quot;Yeah.&quot;</p><p>Trillin: &quot;The whole George H.W. Bush administration fills me with nostalgia and I wonder how I could...</p><p>Brown: &quot;Why, why is that?&quot;</p><p>Trillin: &quot;Well I, I mean people like Brent Scowcroft I really feel terrible saying anything unkind about him as he was dozing through those meetings because he's the one who said that going to Baghdad to depose Saddam Hussein would make us an occupying power in a hostile country. I now think of him as my ally, my compadre, my homey.&quot;</p><p>Brown laughing: &quot;And what a change. I mean it's amazing...&quot;</p><p>Trillin: &quot;Yes.&quot;</p><p>Brown: &quot;...that in just a few years your view could turn like that.&quot;</p><p>Trillin: &quot;I'm even getting sort of nostalgic for John Sununu who started my career as a deadline poet.&quot;</p><p>Brown: &quot;He started your career! Because you loved his name so much.&quot;</p><p>Trillin: &quot;I loved the name and I, and I did a poem called, 'If you knew what Sununu.' He was harmless. He didn't do anything.&quot;</p><p>Brown: &quot;Explain to people what a deadline poet is. They may not know. Most people don't really put it in that context.&quot;</p><p>Trillin: &quot;A deadline poet, unlike poets who can just mosey around waiting for a sunset that happens to inspire them but deadline poet has to come up with a poem every week, every issue of, in my case The Nation. There are a couple of other deadline poets.&quot;</p><p>Brown: &quot;Yeah.&quot;</p><p>Trillin: &quot;And so we're faced with, of course, deadlines and we're faced with the irritating habit of people with names that have no rhyme and meter going into public office which I object to. I don't think it should be allowed.&quot;</p><p>Brown: &quot;But the new, the title of your book came from what you, perhaps feel, is the President's most memorable line thus far?&quot;</p><p>Trillin: &quot;I think it's gonna stick with him in the way that, 'The only thing we have to fear is fear itself,' has stuck with Franklin D. Roosevelt. I think, 'Brownie you're doing a heckuva job,' to the FEMA chief Michael Brown, the former Commissioner of Judges in the International Arabian Horses...&quot;</p><p>Brown: &quot;In the middle of Hurricane Katrina.&quot;</p><p>Trillin: &quot;Yes I think that will be what's linked with him throughout history.&quot;</p><p>Brown: &quot;Read from the book for us. I know you've got a little section here that's actually some verse you wrote sort of after that, a follow to Brownie's 'Heckuva job' comment.&quot;</p><p>Trillin: &quot;Yeah. The, the, well I guessed you'd call the title poem is Further Words By Bush To Michael Brown. 'A qualified guy, I wish I had added. Your resume super even if padded. We wanted the best to lead FEMA's forces and who would know more than a man who knows horses. You saw that the storm was more than some showers and sent off a memo in four or five hours. You found out the life in the Dome was not super and only a day after Anderson Cooper. A heckuva job, you know how to lead 'em, we hope to award you the Medal of Freedom.'&quot;</p><p>Brown laughing: &quot;It is, it's very funny the way you write but it's also, there is anger here. I mean is that what inspires you? Is that how you choose the material? The things that you get really mad about?&quot;</p><p>Trillin: &quot;Unless, unless it doesn't rhyme, then I decide well I wasn't that angry after all. I'm sure it will come out alright.&quot;</p><p>Brown: &quot;This comes from your father we should say too. Yes?&quot;</p><p>Trillin: &quot;Yes my father had a restaurant for a while and put a poem on the menu every lunchtime, a couplet, and he was more interested in rhyme than meter. And actually the book is dedicated to him. And I say he could write such couplets as: 'Each your food gently said Mom to little son Roddy. If you don't I will break every bone in your body.'&quot;</p><p>Brown: &quot;Beautiful words!&quot;</p><p>Trillin: &quot;Very sensitive man, my dad.&quot;</p><p>Brown: &quot;Brings a tear to your eye.&quot;</p><p>Trillin: &quot;Right, right. Very poetic.&quot;</p><p>Brown: &quot;It's great stuff. Well Calvin Trillin it's going to be a hilarious book, I'm sure. A follow-up to your previous one. Great to have you here. We really appreciate it.&quot;</p><p>Trillin: &quot;Thank you.&quot;</p></blockquote>

Geoffrey Dickens
Geoffrey Dickens
Geoffrey Dickens is the Deputy Research Director at the Media Research Center.