George W. Bush attempts to win Pelosi’s vote.
Issue: Summer 2003
“It was all an accident. It just happened,” says Alexandra Pelosi MA ’93 of her “home movie,” Journeys With George, which aired last fall on HBO.
documentary’s title sounds like a travelogue, but in fact the “George” whose
journeys it chronicles is none other than President George W. Bush, whose
campaign Pelosi covered as a field producer for NBC news. “I just brought
a home video camera along and started taking snapshots,” she recounts. “And
it sort of evolved into a movie over a year and a half.”
A whimsical, behind-the-scenes look at life on the campaign trail, Journeys
shows candidate Bush actively courting the American people as well as his
press corps. Pelosi, a 32-year-old, fast-talking, free-thinking and somewhat
partial producer (her mother, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, is the new House Democratic
Whip) was a natural target for Bush’s attentions. Their caught-on-tape exchanges
range from jousting over Bush’s application of the death penalty in Texas
to a lighthearted conversation about Pelosi’s romance with a fellow reporter.
While Journeys has been hailed as an instant classic, Pelosi initially feared the film would never see the light of day.
was such a struggle to get this movie out,” says Pelosi, who left her plum
job at NBC to edit the project. “I thought at any moment NBC or the White
House might kick down the door and demand the videotapes.”
avoid charges of partisanship, Pelosi walked what she calls a “very fine
line,” veering away from a critical documentary and presenting something
more akin to reality TV. “I just wanted to show what it was like to be a
campaign reporter for a year and a half,” says Pelosi.
The George Bush presented in Journeys
is the one Republicans love and Democrats love to hate. “It’s a political
Rorschach test,” she says. “Democrats watch it and they say, ‘(Bush) looks
silly; he looks unpresidential.’ Republicans look at it and say, ‘See, he’s
a really nice guy.’”
While the film captures Bush’s transformation
from an awkward candidate to a confident nominee and finally, an inaugurated
also transformed the New York-based Pelosi, who earned her master’s degree
in communication management from USC before going to work for NBC.
has since become a minor celebrity, a fact she finds both amusing and disconcerting.
“I am so over talking about myself, you have no idea!” she laughs. Fame hasn’t
dulled her journalistic edge, however. Shortly after Journeys aired,
Pelosi signed a two-year deal with HBO to write, produce and direct a documentary
account of the Democratic presidential campaign. For now, Pelosi and her
video camera are following no fewer than eight Democratic hopefuls. With
Journeys, she says, “I was really lucky that Bush won. Now I have to get myself in the right place at the right time.”
– Nick Spark