06/24/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Linda Douglass: From Campaign Reporter To Obama Spokeswoman

ST. LOUIS--As Barack Obama started fielding questions at a hospital here last week, Linda Douglass stood off to the left, scribbling in a reporter's notebook, as she has in every presidential campaign since 1980.

It wasn't until 20 minutes later, when she shouted "Last question!" that her former colleagues were reminded of her new role as a traveling spokeswoman who will be the public face -- a female face in this post-Hillary period -- of the campaign.

After three decades as a television correspondent, Douglass is now on the inside -- but still not getting all the answers. She recalls Obama telling her that he would not talk to her, let alone the outside world, about the vice-presidential selection process, saying: "We're locking it down, we're buttoning it up."

Which is fine with Douglass: "That was so the people who are trying to claw me every day won't get anything. I expect to be kept in the dark."

Douglass, 60, who did her share of clawing while working for ABC and CBS, may be the highest-profile TV reporter to jump into presidential politics since NBC's Ron Nessen became Gerald Ford's White House press secretary in 1974. In the modern era of sound-bite warfare, campaign spokesmen tend to be political operatives or, in a few cases, former media commentators, such as Tony Snow, President Bush's third press secretary.

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