Rolling out the Red Carpet

It was quite the week in Iowa. Never has so much been done to welcome foreign dignitaries.

The 747 of Vice President Xi Jinping sits on the runway at the Des Moines Airport.

Sure, we’ve seen foreign journalists come to Iowa to cover the Iowa Caucuses. But the world-wide coverage of the sitting vice president of the largest country in the world, was impressive.

This week, VP Xi Jinping came back to Iowa for the first time since 1985.

I’ve covered presidential visits, governors, senators but never have I been on assignment for someone who is that high up the State Department food chain.

I was assigned to the Des Moines arrival of Xi. IPTV was the pool crew for his arrival. Steve Carns and I were with the entire media until the VP’s plane came to a stop at the Iowa National Guard’s hanger. Then we were tapped and allowed to get extremely close to the soon-to-be leader of China. Steve put his news shoes back on, elbowing his way through 3 other TV cameras from China, a few still photographers and plenty of security.

Xi was greeted by several of Iowa’s top elected officials along a red carpet.

Then, Xi was ushered into a limo, the red and blue lights were activated on the police cars and the motorcade sprinted away from the airplane in a scene perfectly placed inside a West Wing episode.

Just like that, our moment was done. Xi was on his way to the state capital.

You can see a story on Xi’s entire visit to the United States on this week’s Market To Market. Andrew Batt is the producer on the piece.

By the time the story airs in Iowa, I’ll be knee-deep in directions from Craig Ihnen. Craig is the executive director of the Iowa High School Speech Association. I’ve again been selected to serve as a guest critic for the Large Group All-State Festival. I’ll be the TV and Radio news critic. I really love being asked to give feedback to Iowa high school kids giving their absolute best in the field I love. This will be my third time in the large group setting and fifth overall.

This event is a blast. Craig will be revving up the crowd at CY Stephens (thanks Steve) Saturday morning and that is before 8 AM. If you’re in Ames on Saturday, stop in our room and say hello.


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