Narrating a cable news live shot waiting for something to happen — any minute now!— isn’t easy. One must remain nimble, alert, ready for anything (after lots of nothing).

Here’s MSNBC’s Monica Novotny filling air time while awaiting the president’s disembarkment from Marine One this morning (something MSNBC alone carried live, I guess, in case of a presidential head bump):

NOVOTNY: President Obama’s first stop, Madison, Iowa. The president will talk about the economy. As we were talking about with MSNBC’s Richard Wolffe, he’ll be focusing in specifically on jobs.


There you see the president…



NOVOTNY…not the president. Was that his aide there? The president will hold a town hall meeting this evening. We’re waiting for the president here. ..


NOVOTNY…There you see him, hop off Marine One, head over…

Two thoughts. This could’ve been a contender for the late David Mills’s blog, as my coworker observed. And also, imagine the cable news hubbub if the president actually had emerged from Marine One having gained twenty pounds, wearing sunglasses, and with his suit jacket unbuttoned? It’d have been like Shorts-Gate…only longer.

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Liz Cox Barrett is a writer at CJR.