Helen Thomas, über deren Buch ich ja schon mal geschrieben habe, über die Air Force One, die wochenlangen Flüge zu Zeiten der Präsidentschaftskampagnen und – das Bordkino:

„Each section of the plane – the first family’s quarters, the Secret Service area, the press cabin and so on – has an overhead TV connected to a VCR operated by Air Force communications staff. Upon boarding, passengers get a booklet listing the various movies availabe, and they can pick up a phone near the seats and give their movie choice to the crew. Each separate section – presidential, military, Secret Service, press – can be watching a different movie, but everyone in the same section has to watch the same film, so many times, the one who gets to the phone first is the one who picks the movie. (…)

While the movie menu changes frequently, I believe the film Fargo is the record-holder of Longest-Playing Film Abord Air Force One – in the press cabin, anyway. It started on a campaign swing in August, when the press corps watched Fargo and a disagreement emerged between a photographer for Agence France-Presse and a photographer for Reuters, over a certain line in the movie. They made a $20 bet on the exact phrasing of the line and asked that the movie be shown again. At the end of the second showing, Ken Bazinet later related, of the fourteen people in the cabin, thirteen agreed with the line according to the photographer for AFP. The lone holdout was the Reuters photographer. So it was agreed they would watch it a third time and settle the bet once and for all. Thus was born the “Fargo campaign cult” aboard Air Force One.

“We all started requesting that it be shown,” said Ken. “By the time the campaign was about over, we were calling the communications department and saying things like ‘release the hounds’ and they would play Fargo. We watched it about three times a day traveling to three different cities.”

As the campaign progressed, a race developed between the reporters and photographers to see who could phone for Fargo first. Of course, there were a few dissenters – who were unsuccessful in their efforts to ban the film from the press section. All told, Fargo played to a packed house in the press compartment about three dozen times. “Maybe twelve viewings into it, it really took on a life of its own,” Ken told me. “About a half-dozen of us watched it without the headphones and recited all the lines. From there it progressed into something like The Rocky Horror Picture Show – people would respond to scenes with stuff like ‘No! Don’t go into that room!'”

And what did the first family think of all the Fargo mania? President Clinton came back at one point and he said he had liked the movie, said Ken, “but I hear you guys watch it all the time. That’s weird.” It was First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton who stole the show. NBC’s Clare Shipman, then with CNN and a full-time Fargo watcher, brought Mrs. Clinton to the press cabin on the last leg of the long trip that would bring them home to Little Rock in November. “She went along with the joke and started talking in that excessive way (in the movie) saying things like ‘Yah, yah, you betcha’,” said Ken. She spent a few minutes talking with reporters and at one point someone asked her what she thought of the movie. Mrs. Clinton, who had been taking heat from the Republicans for her book It Takes a Village, paused for a moment, then looked at the assembled press and said, “Well, there’s room in my village for a wood chipper.”
“She brought the house down,” said Ken.

After being regaled with this story by the many reporters who pushed the envelope of the innocent but psychotic fun that invariably goes with a campaign season, I could unterstand how and why something like that would happen. As Ken mentioned later, “When you think about it, we should have been watching Groundhog Day, because that’s what covering a campaign is like. You know, same speech, different day.”