Honestly, the woman is a legend and after working with her, I can see why. She could not have been warmer.
But I digress.
Monday, we confirmed that Madeleine Albright was a go.
And so, I had to make a plan for what to ask her about.
I settled on her personal relationship with Hillary through the years and her being an immigrant and how she perceives the hot immigrant debate going on in this election.
Arriving at the Alexandria office, there were an army of volunteers and phone bankers who were ready to take selfies with the Secretary.
One gentleman in particular was uniquely pushy about it, making sure he appeared in every official, campaigned sanctioned photograph.
When the Secretary arrived, she gave a stump speech about her relationship with Hillary through the years and how she credited Hillary with her becoming Secretary of State.
When she was Ambassador to the United Nations, at the time, there was a fear that Arab nations wouldn't want to work with a woman.
The way she told it, the Arab nations got together and said they didn't mind dealing with Madeleine, and so she should be nominated.
As such, she became Secretary of State.
Tearing through the crowd, nearly 100 in a small room, she was ushered into a back room to make personal phone calls to volunteers who have worked extra hard for the campaign.
The same gentleman who wanted to be in every photo somehow made his way in, sitting next to the Secretary.
He had to be escorted out.
The door closed.
It was me, our press secretary Daniel Wessel, Madeleine and her assistant. I stood there with my camera, shooting B-roll of her every move. She didn't say a word about my presence, just going about her business.
Sitting down at the card table, she picked up her script and a list of names to call. There were only 12.
Most of them went to Voicemail, and surely those folks thought it was a robocall, but the ones that answered were delightful.
They were shocked that she was calling, something Madeleine acknowledged with a tacit smile each time.
Somewhere around the fourth call, I extended my hand and said, "I'm James, the weird guy in the corner randomly filming you."
She laughed and proceeded to go about her phone calls.
When she was finished, the interview commenced, as we discussed her personal relationship with Hillary, being Secretary of State, we got into the topic of immigration.
As she came from Czechoslovakia and the United Kingdom, just like my mom's family, it's a topic that is very personal to me.
I mentioned that in the questioning, and at the end, she had several questions for me, about our ship's manifest, the boat, etc.
Indeed, just like the framed copy I got for my mom a few years ago from Ellis Island, the Secretary has hers hanging in her office.
We talked about my family changing their last name from Zurotka to Barton, because it didn't sound very American, and she said when she was asked to be Secretary of State, President Clinton asked if there was anything he should know about her; she said, well, Madeleine Albright isn't my real name. Just like my family, her name was changed.
We took a picture and she received people on her way out.
It was really a magical afternoon.