I was recently invited to attend a Pasadena Tea Party event featuring Congresswoman and presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann.  The last time I attended their event I met Newt Gingrich and got a brief interview with him, so I was expecting the same with the congresswoman.

I was told to be there “extra early” because she was scheduled to arrive soon after appearing on the Jay Leno Show.  So my make-do cameraman (otherwise known as my husband Mark) and I got there around 4:30.

All the major press people were already there—Fox News, NBC, MSNBC, the works.  I lined up with all of them, Patriot Update microphone in hand, ready-to-go.

At first we were told she would arrive “within minutes”, but that soon turned out to be more like an hour or more.  Mark and I had another event to attend after the Tea Pac so just when we were starting to get a little stressed, Michele Bachmann arrived.

Everyone told me how tiny she is but it’s still a little shocking to see just how small she is in real life; with 2” heels she looked to be about 5’2”.  She was wearing a fabulous Chanel-looking suit and her hair was in a chic French twist.  She has lovely, intense blue eyes and is very personable and real.

The original plan was that she would spend some time with VIP’s and then talk to the press.  That was going to work out perfectly for me; I would do a quick interview and then immediately leave for the second event.

However since she was so late, the press part got moved to the end of her speech instead of the beginning.  Major bummer.

All of us press folks were lined up at the door waiting for Bachmann to walk past after visiting with the VIP’s.   Several times we all got our cameras ready to start filming but were told to wait again—so by the time she finally did show up, Mark and I were, of course, caught off-guard.

I hate to do this to myself, but apparently my life is out there for the world to see anyway.  So here’s one of the pictures several Los Angeles papers and websites are using on their front page, featuring me in panic mode trying to get my still camera out of my husband’s pocket:

Yep.  Just great.

We filmed Rep. Bachmann’s speech but, unfortunately, we left our tripod in the car—thus ending up with a very shaky video of the Congresswoman’s amazing speech.

Almost immediately Rep. Bachmann was garnering applause, reiterating her statement from the recent debates that Barack Obama will absolutely be a one-term president.

She also reminded us that with President Obama, we are now in FOUR wars.

“Uganda asked us to come in and be in four African nations and deal with a problem that’s been going on for 20 years,” Bachmann said. “President Obama says there’s an American vital national interest, but he hasn’t said what that interest is.”

She added that the U.S. should not have gotten involved in the Libyan conflict and said she would send a message to NATO to “stand on your own two feet.”

“We can’t borrow 43 cents on the dollar that we’re spending to pay for their defense. Those days are done,” she said. “I am a hawk. But I also believe that I will only commit America’s bravest men and women in harm’s way – only if there is truly an identifiable vital American national interest. And when I commit them, we will go in with full force.”

Immediately after her speech I was directed to the VIP area where all of the press was to have a very brief “press pool-style” interview with Rep. Bachmann.  What that meant was that all the BIG press people would stand directly in front of her and yell out their questions while I, with my Patriot Update microphone, just stood back and watched.

I wanted to jump in there with my own questions—I had some GREAT ones—but unfortunately the seasoned pros took over.  There wasn’t any politeness involved, people just yelled out their questions despite the fact that Rep. Bachmann was standing only a foot or so away.

So I guess I have to sum it all up as a great learning experience, and I did find a few good pictures from different media sources:

I’m the blonde standing next to Mark, in blue shirt

Sitting behind actor Clint Howard and his wife, Melanie. No, I’m not sleeping—I didn’t have my glasses and couldn’t see whether my camera/pictures were blurry or if it was my eyes…

The GOOD news is that we did end up making it to the second event (albeit very late) where I ended up booking a few new interviews and was invited to meet Sheriff Paul Babeu next week.

Meanwhile, as with everything else these days I’ve learned a few valuable ‘press’ lessons after the Bachmann event.  For one, I’m going to start practicing how to be more aggressive next time I’m stuck in a press pool.  And second, I’ll never reach in my husband’s pocket ever again when there are cameras around…Sigh.