Jim Carroll

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You have to feel sorry for Robert Shortt

You are RTE’s Washington correspondant. You spend four years telling the people back home about stuff that’s going on in the United States. You know most people back home are not really interested in some of the reports you’re sending …

Tue, Feb 5, 2008, 14:16

   

You are RTE’s Washington correspondant. You spend four years telling the people back home about stuff that’s going on in the United States. You know most people back home are not really interested in some of the reports you’re sending home, but RTE are paying a langer-load of cash for you to be out there so you get with the plan.

You keep at it because you know that ever four years, you get the big one. The US presidential election is the biggest razzmatazz around. It’s when the circus comes to town and everyone goes mad. You know – oh boy, do you know – that this is your big shot. You’ll be on the TV and the radio all day every day. You go to the gym, pump iron, take more vitamins. You will be fighting fit. You’re ready for your close-up.

And what happens? Well, everyone in RTE decides they’re coming over. Cathal Mac Coille from Morning Ireland is having a great time at the moment in Los Angeles. Just in case the radioman is feeling lonely, RTE have sent out Prime Time’s (and ex-Washington stringer) Mark Little to keep him company. The station have also had various other men and women out there, sending back reports from outside cafes and town halls like they’re John Simpson arriving in Kabul. Hell, even the other former Washington ace face Carol Coleman has been back in the U S of A, with one eye cocked for George W seeking to make amends for that interview.

And poor old Robert? Well, he’s still giving good game, but he’s no longer the main man. The stars have arrived, the spotlight is elsewhere and Rob is beginning to look a little down in the dumps about the demotion. He has a look in his eyes which says ‘dogonne it’. At least, I suppose, he knows it’s not personal.