The First Meeting?
Karen and Brian have finally come to an agreement that their official first meeting was at the 2000 Democratic National Convention.
Karen was working in an office behind the podium assisting the speechwriters and television consultants. Brian was traveling with Vice President Gore during this time and came into the office very briefly
to say hello. We were introduced and he was gone...we were both so consumed with our own work and "important duties" that neither of us took much notice of the other. They met again briefly once
when the V.P. came to Nashville at the end of the campaign. They emailed and spoke on the phone a few times between August and November but Karen got the feeling that Brian was a little too big for his
britches and Brian got the feeling that Karen might have been yet another one of those employees in Nashville. One thing was certain: neither could figure out quite why their friends and colleagues talked highly of
Was It A Setup?
Enter into this picture Ms. Julia Payne, spokesperson for Gore 2000 & roadie caretaker of Brian and Mr. Mark Fabiani, Director of Communications for Gore 2000 & Karen's (and Julia's) direct boss in Nashville. Legend has it
that Julia and Mark were talking about the two great "kids" who worked for them and Julia told Mark that she thought Mouse and Dahlface (our campaign nicknames) would make a cute couple. Apparently, Brian was let in on
the idea on election day while the three were working together in a room at the Loews Hotel. Conveniently, Karen was busy with the press in the ballroom downstairs and wasn't let in on the secret. If November 7th had been
the end of it all, who knows what would have happened?
On November 8th, Brian was in a cab on his way to the airport with a few other Gore aides to head to Florida. Karen was
being sent to DC as part of the press team there. At the last minute Brian was told to report to DC rather than Florida, another lucky twist of fate. Brian started "stopping by" the make-shift recount office at the DNC headquarters on breaks from his work at the
White House. Julia and Karen were set up side by side in the new digs which proved integral in the "set up." Julia would include Karen in the conversation whenever she was emailing or talking with Brian. Julia invited Brian to visit and he even offered to bring lunch to the two women one day.
Karen mentioned that if the place he was going had milkshakes, she would love one. In what Karen would find out to be (and fall in love with) typical Brian fashion, he scoured (with the help of an intern) D.C. for a great chocolate shake and hand delivered it to Karen.
A few days and many emails and Instant Messages later, Brian took Karen on their first date.
The First Date
It was a dark and stormy night. Okay, it wasn't stormy, but it was dark...the night of their first date. Brian took Karen to
Jaleo, a tapas restaurant in Washington D.C. The date was November 22, 2000, the night before Thanksgiving. The "reason" for the date was that Brian had offered to answer the press calls for Karen on Thanksgiving
Day so she could go home to spend the day with her family (including her new niece, Grace) in Connecticut. He claimed that he needed to "learn" how to do the job before he took over the reins for what would promise to be a SLOW news day.
Karen was slightly skeptical (imagine that) and kept telling herself that this was a business dinner until Brian - quite quickly - convinced her to share some of his favorite dishes with him and the conversation turned to the fruit in the Sangria. Karen explained that she wasn't one for textured drinks and Brian quickly obliged by eating the apples and oranges out of her glass. Karen loosened up a bit, they fought over the check, and Brian drove Karen home to her temporary
digs at the Hyatt on Capitol Hill. Brian had enough trouble doing Karen's job the next day that he just had to call her at home a few times and she just had to call him back a few more. Their next date
-- the one where both had the "this isn't just any guy/girl" moment -- was two days later when they shared S'mores at Xando. This time Brian confessed to not eating chocolate or caffeine of any kind.
Karen happily obliged by eating his share of the Hershey bar. The rest is history.