Thingish Things

Andrew Breitbart, RIP

Written By: William F. B. O'Reilly - Mar• 03•12



I met Andrew Breitbart only once.  It was backstage before he was about to address a crowd of more than 1,000 people at an Americans for Prosperity (AFP) breakfast in Washington, DC a couple of months ago.

The evening before had been chaotic.  Frightening even. A couple of thousand “Occupy” rowdies had surrounded the Washington Convention Center, trying to prevent guests, including two GOP presidential candidates, from leaving. DC Metro police let the situation get out of control — they changed their policy toward Occupy protesters as a result — and several people got badly hurt, two of them elderly women.

Throughout the mayhem, one figure strolled casually among the protesters with 10-inch stacks of dollar bills. He handed out one bill at a time to the protesters, magnanimously offering them as “gifts from the ‘one percenters.'” Andrew Breitbart’s audacity and boyish grin took the protesters entirely by surprise.  They didn’t know what to do with the guy. So he got away with it unscathed. 

I approached Mr. Breitbart backstage to to tell him how funny I thought the gesture and to mention that I had just worked with Bob Turner, who’s seat became available courtesy of Mr. Breitbart. (He was the famous re-Tweeter of former congressman Anthony Weiner’s semi-nude portrait.) 

I didn’t want to bother the guy — just a quick hello — because he was about to go on stage. But Mr. Breitbart seemed to have all the time in the world for me. He had that rare and delightfully mischievous look of someone who knows he can get away with anything — and really mean no harm in any of it. A showman’s look with a twinkle in his eye. And he seemed as in interested in learning about me as I was in him — all moments before going on stage to face a televison cameras and a massive live crowd. 

And then, while were talking, his name was called. He shook my hand, “great to meet you,” strode onto stage and knocked the room dead. I watched his talk from behind the screen in awe of his self confidence. I’ve only met a few people like that in my life.  As I watched, I noted to myself, “Andrew Breitbart’s got it.” 

He was the merriest of pranksters in a far too serious world.  I’m grateful that I got to meet him, if only for some moments. RIP. 

(I’m way late in posting this.  Crazy couple of days.)

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