Oh, how times have changed since 2007 when we first met then-Sen. Obama and Gov. Romney on 60 Minutes. The veteran producers who covered ourthen and now revisit the broadcast's first encounters in this week's Overtime feature.
Our first interview with Obama was not really an election story, but just a profile of an interesting person, says producer Frank Devine. Certainly, getting access to Obama was no problem. When Devine and correspondent Steve Kroft first rang the bell at the Obama's home in Chicago five years ago, it was Sasha and Malia who came running to open the door.
"It seemed like a normal thing that a family would do when the doorbell rings...the kids run to to door and the parents are right behind them," says Devine. "But at the time we were not thinking about him as being the next president of the United States. At the time he was a very inexperienced, young junior senator, first term, from Illinois who was interesting."
"Hillary Clinton, everyone just assumed, was the next candidate," Devine told us. "And this guy probably had a very bright future, maybe was trying to position himself to be considered for Hillary's vice presidential slot." Little did we know.
A few months after 60 Minutes first met Obama, we also trekked out to New Hampshire to meet Gov. Romney, who was then battling it out in the Republican primaries.
"When we met Mitt five years ago, he was really battling the flip-flopper issue," says producer Ruth Streeter. "So of course we, as reporters, had to ask him about it. You know, 'Why did you say X and now you're saying Y?' Back then, you could see Mitt flinch a little bit. You know, it's not easy having Mike Wallace in your face, saying, 'This just doesn't look good, Governor. Why are you such a chameleon?' Now, I would say, Mitt is much more used to those questions. He's figured out where he stands on all that-- and he doesn't flinch anymore."