Miss-Lou native thrilled with campaign

Published 12:00 am Sunday, November 12, 2000

Working double shifts with two hours’ sleep in between is tough enough — but try doing it in front of millions of viewers.

Good thing that Natchez native Campbell Brown, now a reporter covering the presidential election from Austin, Texas, loves her work.

&uot;You’re so high on adrenaline that you don’t want to sleep, you’re so wired,&uot; Brown said in a Friday telephone interview from Austin, where she was still covering the election almost nonstop.

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&uot;It’s going around the clock. … This is the most incredible story I’ve ever covered.&uot;

Brown, who has covered the Bush campaign since the primaries, has filed reports for MSNBC and NBC and has written stories and weekly campaign wrapups for MSNBC’s website.

&uot;It’s been nonstop for the last month,&uot; she said.

But despite having that background, Brown and fellow journalists had no idea, even the day before the election, that the final tally would be so close or last so long.

&uot;I wrote a (Web site column) about the fact that you’re able to observe a campaign this closely for so long, but days before the election you still don’t know what’s going to happen,&uot; Brown said.

&uot;We knew it was going to be close … just not this close. It’s fascinating to have a front row seat to history.&uot;

On election night, Brown literally stayed up all night to see how the count would turn out and was in the middle of the action.

&uot;We were standing in the freezing cold in Austin when the networks announced Bush had just won it, and the people from the Bush campaign rushed out for interviews,&uot; she said.

&uot;We were standing there waiting for Gore to make his concession speech, and then he took (his concession) back. There was utter disbelief.&uot;

Brown — who for the last four months on the road has averaged four hours’ sleep a night — got back to her hotel at 6:30 a.m. Wednesday and, after two hours’ sleep, was back on the air again.

Brown said the first things she will do after the election question is resolved and the story winds down are sleep and get proper exercise.

&uot;I haven’t gone running since this thing started,&uot; she said.

The Bush campaign is not the only big story Brown has covered in her career.

She covered the White House for a year, traveling with President Clinton’s press corps to such places as Kosovo, Turkey, Greece and Japan. She was also assigned to the Pentagon during the conflict in Kosovo.

&uot;That is one of the most fun things about this job — the travel,&uot; Brown said. Still, she added, election night &uot;was the most incredible night of my life.&uot;

Through it all, her family has been a source of support — and, occasionally, has been there to bring her down to earth a bit, Brown said with a laugh.

&uot;My grandmother (Alma Campbell of Natchez) called me after I was on the air, and the first thing she said was, ‘Cami, fix your hair! It’s standing up in back!’ &uot;