Take Me To Your Leader: A National Journey

Host Liane Hansen speaks to NPR's David Greene as he embarks on a road trip across the country, as part of a new series called "Take Me To Your Leader." Greene will be traveling from Barack Obama's hometown of Chicago to John McCain's home town in Phoenix.

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LIANE HANSEN, host:

This is Weekend Edition from NPR News. I'm Liane Hansen. While much of America's attention will be focused on the Democratic National Convention this week, today NPR is starting a series about a different kind of leadership. It's called, "Take Me to Your Leader." We're sending reporter David Greene on a road trip from Barack Obama's hometown of Chicago to John McCain's hometown of Phoenix to ask people who they think are the leaders in their communities. We've reached David at Wrigley Field in Chicago. Hey, David.

DAVID GREENE: Hi, Liane.

HANSEN: Explain why you're doing this trip.

GREENE: Well, you know, there's going to be all this convention coverage the next couple of weeks, and you know, these conventions, I mean, they really are about the future of the country, and so we just thought it would be a neat idea to get out in the country and meet people, tell some stories and ask that question that you mentioned, you know, just to say people, you know, who are your leaders, who do you look up to? It doesn't have to be a politician but what does leadership mean to you?

HANSEN: Tell us about some of the people you've met so far.

GREENE: Well, actually, outside Wrigley here, I ran into three women standing outside a bar and the first thing we talked about was Joe Biden, Obama's vice-presidential pick. And you know, that's been all over the cable news channels but they had not read the famous text message yet and I actually had to show it to them on my BlackBerry. Let's give a listen to this.

Unidentified woman #1: Here's his text. Oh, God.

Unidentified woman #2: (unintelligible)

Unidentified woman #3: Because that's the new way...

Unidentified woman #1: Has chosen Senator Joe Biden to be VP.

Unidentified woman #2: I don't know...

Unidentified woman #3: I'm just surprised.

GREENE: Yeah. So not everyone is obsessing over this as much as some people in the news business. So that was Pam Stevens(ph) and Donna and Lindsey Keegan(ph). And it turns out that Donna and Lindsey are mother-daughter. And I asked them the question, I said, you know, who do you look up to? And here's what they had to say. You'll hear from the mom first.

Ms. DONNA KEEGAN: She has to say me.

Ms. LINDSEY KEEGAN: Me?

Ms. D. KEEGAN: Yes.

Ms. L. KEEGAN: I would say you.

GREENE: Why do you say her?

Ms. L. KEEGAN: Well, because I think that you get to the point in your life where you realize that, you know, politicians are an amazing thing and people that run the country are amazing. But we all still go back to our normal lives. Soldiers and fireman and policeman are these people that voluntarily do something for other people instead of themselves. So, you know, I have a brother who's a sheriff, I have friends in the military and I have a mom that raised two kids on her own for 12 years and they both turned out to be pretty great kids. So, I don't know, I think that if she can do what she did with two kids at 14 and 15, then, yeah, selfless people.

HANSEN: Sounds like, David, you have to expect the unexpected on this trip.

GREENE: You really do. Yeah, they got a little emotional because it turned out that Lindsey's mom, you know, after her father died when she was a teenager, you know, she raised her and her brother alone. So, you know, we're going to be racking up the miles and hopefully meeting a lot of people like this, Liane.

HANSEN: So where do you go next?

GREENE: Well, after Illinois, we got Indiana, Missouri and then west to Kansas and winding our way to New Mexico and into Arizona. That's at least our plan so far.

HANSEN: Sounds like a great trip. NPR's David Greene at Wrigley Field, home of the Chicago Cubs. And you can send him suggestions on where he should go and people he should talk to during his trip. Just email him at meetyourleaders, that's all one word, @npr.org. David, have a great trip, take care, thanks a lot.

GREENE: Thanks much, Liane.

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