It was my usual weekly TV interview with ABC/WTXL/27 anchor Anne Imanuel. The program was branded Political Insight with Senator Bob McKnight, and aired in the North Florida and South Georgia market.
I did the program for approximately four years, but the segment on April 27, 2011, stands out among my more than 200 segments. It included a prediction that was heard, as they say, "around the world."
At the time of the program, the 2012 election was well under way and Anne asked if I saw any major factors affecting the re-election of President Obama. Prior to the program, it had periodically occurred to me that the major "needle changers" in presidential races are usually related to immigration, abortion, sex, committing crimes, and war.
Since these factors did not really apply to the presidents re-election, at least at that time, I somewhat discounted this customary political wisdom. But then I got to thinking about our fighting two wars at the same time. My thinking drifted back to the beginning, even though not all the causes of our fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan were based on accurate facts.
But riveting in mind was that nauseating picture of airplanes flying into American property. The undisputed mastermind of the cowardly and unconscionable attack of 9/11 brought back the memory of Osama bin Laden.
It was widely rumored that we almost got to bin Laden in Bora Bora, but he slipped through our clutches. It had been approximately a decade with very few sightings of him in the news. But, as a former U.S. Army officer, I was very mindful of our countrys military might and determination to bring that killer to justice.
Yes, a needle changer for Obama would certainly be the capture or killing of bin Laden.
Although Anne and I would share notes before our interviews, she was a consummate professional who insisted on intellectual independence. I knew we were going to talk about the progress of the 2012 election, but I had no idea of the specifics she would throw at me.
So, when Anne asked the question about what, if anything, I saw in the future that might affect the re-election prospects of the president, I reflected for an extended period of time, thinking about immigration, abortion, sex, committing crimes and war. Bin Laden jumped into my mind immediately and I responded to Anne, Well a name we have not heard lately, Osama bin Laden -- he could dramatically impact the election of the president, if we were to catch or kill him.
Anne paused and added the surprise of hearing bin Ladens name again in the context of our countrys elections. She moved the interview with me on to the rest of our segment.
Four days later, the famous clandestine attack and killing of bin Laden was announced by the president. I got a call at home from the producer of WTXL News, Keisha Wilkinson, asking if I had heard the news of the killing of bin Laden. I told them I had and found myself stunned.
Since I had brought this possibility up only four days before in my interview with Anne on the air, Keisha asked if I had some inside information to have predicted such a monumental story. I told her I had no prior information of any kind -- it was just a shocking coincidence.
The station ran the interview and the original prediction for viewers, and I am told it was picked up by some national news feeds. The interview and the prediction are available on YouTube by Googling Senator McKnights Prediction on Osama bin Landen on WTXL 27 HD.
Robert W. McKnight served in the Florida Senate and House of Representatives during the 1970s and 1980s. He has written two books on Florida politics, available at Amazon.com; and now provides regular political commentary trademarked as The Golden Age Quorum Call in the Tallahassee Democrat and Facing Florida, a public affairs television program airing on ABC, CBS and FOX stations. He can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org.