When “Meet the Press” moderator Chuck Todd travels to do his live daily show, he typically wants to set up in an iconic local bar or restaurant.
“Where do people spend more time talking about politics?” he asked.
So naturally, when he came to Buffalo to host the town hall meeting at the University at Buffalo Thursday morning with Ted Cruz, he picked the Anchor Bar – birthplace of the chicken wing – to shoot his hourlong “Meet the Press Daily” show on MSNBC.
Behind the bright lights and wooden stools that comprised the makeshift set, eight tables of patrons ate wings and spontaneously applauded every time Todd reintroduced his show location. He even held up a plate of Anchor Bar wings for the national audience.
“Wow,” commented NBC correspondent Hallie Jackson, who joined him briefly at the start of the show. “They’re steaming.”
But the big question: Did Todd actually eat any wings here?
The answer: Yes. He had them for lunch. He likes them mild. And he’s well aware of the wing rivalry between the Anchor Bar and Duff’s. He hasn’t had the ones at Duff’s, he said, but his producers have, and they prefer the Anchor Bar’s. He also counted himself a fan after he got his order.
“I loved that it wasn’t soggy,” he said.
This is all well and good for the latest correspondent to chair “Meet the Press,” a show that Buffalonians have long held in high esteem ever since their native son Tim Russert took on legendary status as the show’s longest-serving moderator.
Mayor Byron W. Brown, one of Todd’s on-air guests, said Todd told him that whenever he shoots his show in Buffalo, he can count on a nice viewership bump.
Todd asked Brown about his support for Hillary Clinton and his thoughts on the divide in the Democratic Party. He also asked veteran GOP fundraiser Anthony Gioia, a former supporter of Marco Rubio, about his newfound support for Cruz.
He chatted with Katrinna Martin-Bordeaux of Young Black Democrats of Western New York about her support for Bernie Sanders.
Brown reflected on all the attention. Though he didn’t attend Cruz’s town hall event at UB, he did enjoy spending more than three hours with Clinton on Friday, beginning with a tour of the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus.
“This is a lot of fun, and it’s very meaningful,” Brown said, sitting at a rear Anchor Bar table that gave him a good view of the set and patrons in the side room. “It feels good to matter in a presidential primary.”