Leon Bibb reflects on interview with former President Obama at the White House

Posted at 6:08 PM, Jul 26, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-26 18:08:54-04

We can't even count all the interviews Leon Bibb has conducted throughout his career.

But among those that stood out is one that took place six years ago this summer.

Someone like Leon Bibb gets a lot of phone calls pitching stories and interviews, most are almost immediately forgotten.

But there's one that came from a 202 area code and there's no doubt he'll never forget it. 

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"'Would you like to interview President Obama, we could make it exclusive to Ohio and we're only calling you,'" Leon says an official at the White House told him. "Of course you say 'I'd like to do that.'"

Oh and the interview would be at the White House.

For a reporter, the assignments don't get much bigger than that. And, like any child with a parent still living, one of Leon's first thoughts was to tell his mom.

One thing though...

"Mom was in hospice care at the time that week that I went in July of 2011," he said. "And there was a question of whether I should go or whether I should not and my sister Shirley Bibb Blackwell told me you got to go."

It was a tough decision at a difficult time but, at his family's urging, he went. 

They discussed the issues important to Cleveland, the first African American to win the presidency and the first to anchor a primetime newscast in Ohio. 

"And mother held on until I got back," Leon said. "I saw the president, interviewed him on Monday and the following Saturday mother passed away. But she lived long enough to see my report on the air. So...I'm glad I did and mother, with her eyes, told me she was glad I did too."