Roland Martin, noted Black journalist and host of TV One’s Washington Watch, has released a new book that chronicles his experience reporting on President Barack Obama’s historic ascendancy to the highest office in the land.
The First: President Barack Obama’s Road to the White House (Third World Press) begins in December 2006 – when Obama had yet to announce his candidacy – and follows the campaign trail with Martin offering his perspective on key players and events.
The First also includes interviews with Dr. Cornel West, Rep. John Lewis, Spike Lee, Maxine Waters, Michael Eric Dyson, and Obama himself after his win in Iowa.
Check out an excerpt from the book in which Martin describes working at CNN the night Obama won the Iowa caucus:
“The fifth floor of 1 Time Warner Center, home of our Election Center set, was buzzin’. Crews were still assembling the set, dozens and dozens of people were running back and forth, peering at computer screens, looking at polling data, all to get ready for the first night.
Then 7p.m. struck and we were off and running. Our A‐team of The Best Political Team on Television were all on the set, and I was one of several political contributors waiting in the wings. I was watching our coverage and working my sources in the Sen. Barack Obama campaign.
I knew his every move and what he was doing at that moment because I was communicating with several of his top folks.
At one point I heard one of our reporters say they weren’t sure where Obama was watching election returns, and I sent an e‐mail to my “handler” Stephanie Kotuby, “He’s having dinner with friends and family.”
As the night progressed, it was clear Obama was heading for an upset victory.
When he won, folks were stunned. Forget the professionals. No one thought this black political upstart from Chicago was going to defeat the likes of former VP candidate John Edwards and former first lady, Sen. Hillary Clinton. But he did, and folks were going on and on about what it meant for an African American candidate to win nearly all‐white Iowa.”