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How I Became a News Anchor

From USA Today:

CNN’s Erin Burnett has had quite the career. The prime-time newscaster graduated from Williams College with a political economy degree, spending the first part of her career as a financial analyst for Goldman Sachs before taking the leap to pursue a career in media.

From the Middle East to Africa to China and the United States, Burnett’s reporting has taken her all over the world as the host of CNN’s Erin Burnett OutFront. USA TODAY College caught up with Burnett to talk about taking risks, driving through Iraq in the dark of night and thriving on deadline.

Read the whole thing. Alas, there are no fun stories from Burnett’s time at Williams.

What does your career path look like, from Goldman Sachs to CNN?

My brother-in-law and sister sent me an article that was on the front of the business section of the New York Times. I was an an analyst at Goldman and I’d been doing an all-nighter, which is kind of the standard operating procedure in that job. The article was talking about Willow Bay and her new job with Moneyline, the show she was working on at CNN.

When I was young Willow was the face of Estee Lauder and a very famous model, so I had followed her and knew who she was. I sent her a letter — which I’ve described as my ‘stalker letter’ — and said that I’ve read your ad and that I’m very interested in doing this.

Lesson: Network! Network! Network!

Burnett’s sisters are also Ephs and at least one is married to an Eph.

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AskMen on Burnett ’98

Erin Burnett ’98 was #95 on AskMen.com’s list 2010 list of the Top 99 Women. Although I have not examined the list closely, I do not see any other Ephs. Do you?

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Branding Opportunity

Background here:

In a discussion of the blown call during Wednesday night’s almost-perfect-game, Burnett argued that the umpire and pitcher’s “graciousness” were so “beautiful” that it made for a “more memorable moment” than a perfect game would have.

“See, this is why women aren’t in charge of sports,” Haines shot back.

1) Why aren’t women in charge of sports?

2) This is a great branding opportunity for Williams! (Burnett played field hockey for the Ephs.) Sports Information should send her (or someone at CNBC) a field hockey stick (with prominent Williams colors/branding) that she can “brandish” at Haines the next time he makes an inappropriate remark.

The more times that Williams is mentioned in upscale settings like CNBC, the better off we are.

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The 2:45 Crash

This is what the 2:45 Crash looked like to Erin Burnett ’98 live last Thursday.

“The machines broke down.” Don’t blame me! I was blogging . . .

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New Erin Burnett ad

(h/t nuts via Speak Up!)

There’s also lots of other interesting stuff posted on Speak Up, which I recommend checking out, but our standing policy is to give Erin Burnett videos the highest possible priority.

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Smokey Bones

Fun Eph discussion at the 2:20 mark about Clarence Otis ’77 and the quarterly conference call for Darden, the company of which he is the CEO. (Link here if embedded video does not appear.)

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Burnett ’98 Congratulates Brzezinski ’89

Thanks to nuts for the pointer and for, I think, uploading this video to YouTube. (You would be welcome to join us as an author so that you could post yourself.)

What do you think it would take for either Burnett or Brzezinski to give a shout out to EphBlog? Suggestions welcome!

UPDATE: nuts, could you change the thumbnail of this video to be from about the 27 or 28 second mark?

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Trillion Dollar Man

Erin Burnett ’98 interviews Jimmy Lee ’75 at the Sun Valley conference organized by Herb Allen ’62. It is an Eph triple play!

Best quote: “Once an Eph always an Eph.”

More later . . .

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Erin Burnett branches out

Since EphBlog bylaws (Section 4, sub-section III) require us to post everytime Erin Burnett does something noteworthy, we can hardly ignore her taking time off from her Squawk Box hosting duties to appear on the Today show:

Visit msnbc.com for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy

Further commentary from John Carney and Bess Levin (Amherst ’06)

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Get it Back

Erin Burnett ’98 asks if we taxpayers are ever going to get back the money that we have “invested” in GM?

Answer: No. Full analysis here.

UPDATE: Why doesn’t the embedded video that I have inserted in the post (but which you can’t see the code for unless you are an EphBlog administrator and click the edit button) work? I don’t know. When I click through to the original web page, the CNBC video plays fine for me.

UPDATE 2 from RB: fixed

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Obama “can’t be Erin Burnett.”

Seeing the quote in the title was just so funny that I had to share it with our dedicated Erin Burnett ’98 fans as well as the rest of the EphBlog community that isn’t David.  This article asked a bunch of talking heads/pundits/people who like to talk/commentators about the President’s communication of economic woes and plans and what’s going on with the current crisis.  What should he say himself?  Who should the surrogates be?  There are some notably bad surrogates (the markets didn’t like Geithner for awhile, Summers is like watching really boring paint dry).  But at least now we know what Mark Shields thinks:

“The president has a lot bigger agenda than responding to why industrials were down or tech stocks were up,” syndicated columnist and PBS NewsHour commentator Mark Shields recently told The Observer.  “He can’t be Erin Burnett, explaining every twist and turn in the markets. But given the gravity of the situation and the lack of alternatives, in too many instances, that has become what the [P]resident has had to do.”

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Attitude

The New York Times reports that “CNBC Thrives as Hosts Deliver News With Attitude.”

Was last week the worst one in CNBC’s 20-year history — or the best?

The financial news network, a unit of NBC Universal, was savaged by “The Daily Show” in a viral video sensation. It was criticized for being too cozy with the corporations it covers. One of its stars, Jim Cramer, was ridiculed by the White House press secretary. And one of its reporters faced a new round of criticism for an on-air outburst about mortgage “losers.”

When the CNBC anchor Erin Burnett appeared on “Real Time With Bill Maher” on HBO on Friday, Mr. Maher raised a similar issue. “This is the channel that Wall Street watches all day,” Mr. Maher said. “I think this is more than a channel; I think it affects what happens on Wall Street. Why didn’t anybody there predict what was going to happen?”

Ms. Burnett said that the dot-com bubble was predicted, too. “It’s easy to say ‘a bubble.’ You don’t know when it’s going to burst,” she said, adding that the questions of timing and magnitude were missed by many financial experts.

No one gives attitude like an educated Eph Woman. And Burnett is exactly right. I thought that the market was a bubble when Yahoo went public. (I still remember the photo of the founders in Time magazine.) I haven’t been proven right . . . yet.

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Lusting After the Female Presenters

How do smart people think about the Cramer/Stewart show-down? Like this:

Just watched the Jim Cramer interview on The Daily Show. It made me sooo fucking mad. What a dick. How full of oneself can one person be? And such a preachy loudmouth, too.

I’m talking of course of Jon Stewart, self-appointed mob leader, First Pitchfork. Of whom nothing ill may normally be said. At least 70% of the “interview” was him talking, for chrissakes. The rest of it was sandbagging, showing shady internet video from 2006 off theStreet.com where Cramer fesses up to, among other things, spreading vaguely dodgy rumours about Apple, and ramming the futures down pre-opening. Big fucking deal, and that never took a dime from the Great American Public. The whole point of his banging on about it in the video, I can only imagine, was to warn viewers that this sort of thing goes on, rather than, as was clearly implied by His Preachiness, to inform his viewers and the SEC that he is a semi-criminal financial mastermind. Whatever; this was less an interview, in no way a “showdown,” more a pre-planned evisceration in front of a hostile, servile audience. That audience is so sycophantic, it makes Jon Stewart uncomfortable, and rightly so. As a spectacle, it was disturbing. One of those Spanish festivals where they torture a donkey came to mind, or where they drop a goat out of the church steeple.

Asking CNBC to become some sort of “good citizen” financial journalist, exposing evil banking shenanigans, as Jon Stewart fantasises, would be like asking Paris Hilton to teach an Open University course in quantum physics. It is not a realistic proposition. In any case, which muckraking financial institution does he have in mind as a paragon? The FT? WSJ? The Economist? Boooorring. Bloomberg TV is probably the model he has in mind, or something on PBS. There’s no money in that, neither explicity predicted, as far as I know, our current difficulties, and no-one watches.
poar02_moneyhoney0811
For most of us doing the investing, CNBC (and, most of the time, Cramer, for that matter) is absolutely irrelevant in investing, a backround hum on the trading floor, good only for finding out what the consensus is thinking at any one time and lusting after the female presenters (I like Erin Burnett). No-one I know takes any of it seriously.

Jon Stewart is surfing on rage, and unloading on the public face of stockmarket investing. Like most members of the public he doesn’t quite understand what has happened, and is sure they have all been somehow “gotten”. And of course they have been, but are all complicit in it the same time. Even if they didn’t buy overpriced houses with too much debt, I bet a lot of Jon Stewart’s audience remortgaged and bought an LCD TV, new car and a great holiday, or at least invested their 401ks into stocks and mutual funds. Get the pitchforks out and let’s get the bankers, anyway, it’ll make some good TV. Well, frankly it didn’t.

Contrary view from another smart person here. Who’s right? I’ll go with the guy who likes Eph women!

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NBC’s “Erin Burnett Problem”

Passing this along from a tipster who wanted to make David’s day:

One of the big journalistic lessons of the Iraq War was that “embedded” reporters who get one side of the story are not well suited to give accurate information to the public.

Americans now depend on the media for accurate information about the financial crisis. This Sunday’s Meet The Press made something absolutely clear: Journalists who are “embedded” on Wall Street and depend on Wall Street execs for access on a day-to-day basis are ridiculously unqualified to give the public good information about the economic crisis.

Indeed, NBC has an Erin Burnett problem. Watch and see for yourself how Burnett consistently serves an an apologist for Wall Street’s worst practices:

Full story on the Huffington Post, with YouTube clips.

UPDATE: Change title, no idea why Austrians were involved.

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Glistens on the Highway

Thanks to Nuts for the link to this segment from yesterday morning. Liked the part (around 2:00) when Burnett points out (correctly) that “wind, solar, all these technologies, don’t make sense right now” with gas/oil prices so cheap. Nuts notes:

Erin report to Joe and Mika that auto bridge loan requirements are likely to strip GM common stock of all value.

Cerebrus investors seems to be getting the best end of this government intervention, after a debate that is sadly misinformed with regard to worker compensation and managements’ culpability for the companies financial viability. Foreign transplants are facing the same sales and revenue problems.

The Federal government is favoring the interests of rich, politically connected folks like my three-headed-dog friends? Shocked, I am not.

Burnett ends with “Nobody knows the answer. But I don’t want government telling me the answer. That’s all I can say.”

An Eph after my own heart.

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Supply and Demand

Thanks to nuts for the tip. The Williams action is just a few seconds, but worth a click.

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Jim Cramer learns to pronounce ‘Eph’

Congratulations to Mr. Cramer’s daughter, who was accepted ED to the Williams class of 2013. 

Hat-tip to reader “An EB Fan” (aren’t we all?)

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No Man’s Land

Erin Burnett ’98 was on “Meet The Press” last week (go to the six minute mark).

For those to busy to view, here is the the passage.

MS. BURNETT: We need more clarity, though, on where these two and a half million jobs are going to come from because, as I say, I think that’s a lot less than a lot of people on Wall Street were expecting to hear out of Obama, maybe a larger number. But if you’re going to talk about restructuring here, you’re going to lose jobs no matter what. And finding some sort of an immediate transition seems to be very important. And if you’re talking about infrastructure, there’s only about $18 billion of projects ready to go that you could really put people to work on. So there is this sort of no man’s land that we’re going to go into where you could have a lot of people looking for work in addition to where we are right now and not really having anywhere to go right, right yet.

Indeed. Steve Sailer makes a similar point.

More Burnett quotes below.
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Eph Broadcasters

The College’s sports website is running a great series on Eph ex-athletes who are now in broadcasting. So far, it includes:

Sam Flood ’83

Mika Brzezinski ’89

Erin Burnett ’98

I wish the series were signed or had some background, as I’d be interested to know how it came about and whether we can expect more installments. Excellent work. Dick Quinn runs quite a shop. Kudos.

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This recession thing is starting to get out of hand

Forget about unemployment numbers or new home starts or LIBOR. Henry Blodget (formerly an analyst at Merrill Lynch (formerly an investment bank)), posts some seriously troubling news:

ERIN BURNETT IS CUTTING BACK ON SPENDING 

Okay, now try not to panic. Although this proves that the bailout and the coordinated central bank rate cuts have been abject failures, we may still be able to dig ourselves out of this hole.

The Fed and the Treasury now need to take their monetary and fiscal response to the next level. The Fed needs to immediately start issuing gold credit cards with no spending limit to individuals, starting with Erin Burnett and her friends. We could call it the Temporary Personal Emergency Discretionary Liquidity Plan, or TPEDLP for short. Furthermore, Hank Paulson needs to declare a national state of emergency and make any store closings or stock price declines illegal. Congress needs to come together in a bipartisan fashion to provide an emergency bailout for the handbags and shoes industry. This won’t be popular or easy, but together, we can do it.

Until and unless the Erin Burnett Personal Spending Indicator™ starts to tick upwards again, EphBlog Research recommends a portfolio allocation of 90% cash and 10% soup*.

*Full Disclosure: EphBlog currently holds a long position in soup.

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It’s a male-fantasy thing

Vanity Fair has a piece in its October issue looking at Maria Bartiromo and Erin Burnett (cue drooling and panting by geeky econ boys). While I’m glad there is an article about women reporters who actually know something about their subjects (rather than being Fox newsreaders), the tone of the article is rather insulting even as it tries to dispell the myth of the bitchfight. If it were two attractive men, would we have the term “money honey” (which I know Bartiromo has now claimed for the branding) or “street sweetie”? Would there EVER be an entire article discussing who is the “Queen B” and making the whole damn thing seem like a stupid high school catfight? God forbid these just happen to be two intelligent people reporting the news. Yes, all news personalities have to be attractive or they wouldn’t be on tv, but male anchors are not subjected to this kind of inane overlay to stories about them. It is perhaps acknowledged briefly that they are “distinguished” or “handsome” and the article moves on. Nobody assumes that two men are backbiting or threatened by one another – perhaps because nobody questions that there can be several prominent men reporting business whereas women have to fight for the one designated female financial reporter slot? Hmmm…

Example:

With sultry blue eyes, sharp, almost perfect features, dimples, and a lazy, bedroomy smile, Burnett not only was knowledgeable about financial issues but had a knack for translating them into plain English, and in contrast to Maria, who was more singularly focused on corporate news, Burnett was interested in broader policy issues—education, health care, how to pay for the repair of America’s crumbling infrastructure. She had a casual, breezy on-air persona. She was also a bit irreverent—and spontaneous. 

Seriously, a “lazy, bedroomy smile”? Are you f-ing kidding me? The rest of that quote is fine – it talks about her style of reporting, her interests, also known as her qualifications for the job. Don’t even get me started on the photo that is half-way down the page:

Again, Burnett is a savvy woman who knows how to promote herself and she is playing off of it. But male reporters don’t have to go there, no photo shoot would even propose to have a man pose like that. She agreed to it, but why was she even asked?

Frankly, I think Bartiromo says it best in the article (and note the total LACK of cattiness):

“I think it’s a disservice to us as women and as businesspeople, by the way, to compare what you’re seeing from a handful of situations to women who are really trying to make it in business. You could look at CNBC and see women who are beautiful and smart and they’re not showing all this skin: Becky Quick, Erin Burnett, Michelle Caruso-Cabrera—[all] beautiful successful women doing great,” she says. “It’s more than prancing around the Stock Exchange with little dresses on. We’re covering business and it doesn’t matter what you look like if you don’t know your stuff. If you don’t have the goods, you will not last.” 

And from Burnett at the end of the article:

“I think that when people see strong, successful women, they love to imagine that there is a rivalry,” says Burnett. “Maybe it’s because there are not as many women. And maybe, I don’t know,” she says, rolling her eyes, “it’s a male-fantasy thing.”

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Contagion

Erin Burnett ’98 was on Meet The Press today. (Thanks to Soph Mom for the tip.)

(Burnett’s main comments start at 1:15.) Transcript here. Quotes and comments below.
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Bristol’s Mom

Who remembers Stacy’s Mom, hit 2003 single from Fountains of Wayne?

Adam Schlesinger ’89 and Chris Collingwood ’89 are founders of the band. Is this theme — sexual attractiveness of older women/mothers — somehow relevant to US politics? Erin Burnett ’98 thinks so! Context is an overview by Donny Deutche of the Palin candidacy, with special emphasis on her attractiveness.

Erin: You know Donny there is a 4 letter acronym that would apply, but I won’t say it, but it begins with M and ends with F.

Donny: Ends with what?

Erin: Begins with M, ends with F, it’s a four letter acronym, that’s all I can say.

You stay classy, Erin! (See Wikipedia for an explanation of the acronym.) Yet Palin is not the only woman (or person!) to benefit from her good looks. Consider this Eagle article on Burnett.

There is no doubt that Burnett is major ammo for CNBC; she delivers the news, and she becomes it. In some cases, she eclipses it. Watching MSNBC “Hardball” host Chris Matthews tell Burnett she was a “knockout” during a recent broadcast was more than embarrassing to some viewers.

James E. Mahon, chairman of Williams College’s political economy program and Burnett’s senior thesis adviser, watched a broadcast of Matthews’ public display of affection toward Burnett and said he found it “disgusting.”

The idea that his former student is simply a “Money Honey” — the oft-used epithet used for attractive business news anchors that implies they’re all looks and no substance — is more than a little irksome.

“She works very hard,” Mahon said. “When she sees a job, she knocks herself out.”

For her senior thesis at Williams, Burnett researched labor standards and product identity, and Mahon helped her work it into form.

Under the title “Complying With International Labor Standards,” an abridged version of the thesis was published in a trade journal in 2001.

Mahon described her as a serious student who didn’t use her good looks as currency.

“She wasn’t a beauty queen,” he said. “She was a field hockey player. She wasn’t going around campus trying to be Miss Glamour.”

If you are as beautiful as Burnett, you do not need to try to be “Miss Glamour.” You already are. Beautiful women, like Burnett and Palin, do not need to try to use their “good looks as currency.” Every time they walk into a room, their good looks come with them. Chris Matthews may be “disgusting,” but his reaction to Burnett’s beauty was only outrageous in its obviousness. (And note that she was wearing purple at the time. Who among us can resist an Eph woman in purple?)

Men like to look at Burnett. You think that she would be on CNBC if she were ugly? And, for the record, the phrase “Money Honey” implies nothing about the “substance” of attractive female CNBC anchors. All CNBC anchors, Burnett included, are highly intelligent and quick on their feet. It just so happens that (most of) the female anchors are also very attractive. Turns out that smart women can be attractive and attractive women can be smart! This should hardly come as news to Ephs. Also, Money Honey is not an “epithet.” Maria Bartiromo has actually trademarked the term!

I don’t know if Professor Mahon finds the term irksome or really thinks that it is an epithet. He seems like a smarter guy than that! Yet I do think that Burnett’s good looks played a part in her rise to fame. And the same is true of Palin. What is interesting is that so many people like to pretend that looks don’t matter, or that they shouldn’t. Alas, it is an imperfect world we live in

Other article highlights below.
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Erin!

The New York Times has an article on Erin Burnett ’98. I’ll leave it to # 1 Fan to discuss it.

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Credit Issues

Interesting Vanity Fair article on the collapse of Bear Stearns includes a single Eph mention.

For the next hour the Bear Stearns rumor became a topic of conversation between CNBC correspondents and various market traders and analysts. At 1:50, Matthew Cheslock remarked, “The sentiment [on Bear] is pretty negative. The general consensus is ‘Where there’s smoke, there’s fire.’ ”

A few minutes later, Griffeth, perhaps sensing the network might have gone a bit too far, asked Dennis Kneale, “What about the jittery nature of this market right now? Are we starting to believe some rumors that may or may not be true?” Kneale agreed. “Someone,” he observed, “is always making money on the other side of that bad news or that rumor.”

Yet CNBC’s coverage remained anything but skeptical of the rumor. At two the network’s new “money honey,” Erin Burnett, headlined the hour by announcing “credit issues at Bear,” never mind that there was no such thing. She turned to correspondent David Faber, who observed, “Of course, no firm’s ever going to say that they are having trouble with liquidity, and, in fact, you’ve either got liquidity or you don’t. So if you don’t have it, you’re done. Those are the kinds of concerns in this market, concerns of confidence You can have crises of confidence, causing meltdowns.”

As Dealbreaker notes the claim that there weren’t “credit issues at Bear” on Monday March 10 is absurd.

But, more importantly, can we please think up a better nickname for Burnett ’98, something that references Williams and, therefore, gets the College some good press? “Money Honey” really belongs to Maria Bartiromo. Both “Street Sweetie” and “Maria 2.0” have been tried for Burnett. Surely, the readers of EphBlog can do better.

Looking for more news about Burnett? Go here.

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Captions Sought

“Isn’t it obvious Tim? I am wearing yellow in preparation for my 10th reunion at Williams College.”

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Erin Burnett Breaking News

She is coming on The Celebrity Apprentice on CNBC at this very moment.

I’m not in on the whole Erin craze or this show, but I happen to have heard her name flipping through and I sense some of you might really like to know this.

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EB stalker watch

In case you thought EphBlog had a creepy obsession with Erin Burnett ’98, I’d just like to point out that our interest is positively healthy compared to this latest post by John Carney of Dealbreaker.

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Boy, how did we miss this?

Has it been almost 6 weeks since the last update about Ephblog’s favorite CNBC anchor and the Keely Smith to Jim Cramer’s Louis Prima (how does that grab you, jazz lovers?), Erin Burnett? I only mention this because Dealbreaker had linked to a video of EB98 riding around on a hobby horse during a CNBC segment, only to have that video taken down by the no fun editors there. I hoped to find said clip on YouTube, but found this instead. Before watching this, just remember that most Ephwomen are more like our awesome CRASH-B champ, Diana Davis ’07 (most Ephs know this, but there could some impressionable high school seniors reading this blog, so better safe than sorry). Sing to us, O muse, about recessions.

[display_podcast]

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The sound you hear is an Eph’s heart breaking

Hers is the face that launched a thousand blog posts, drawn rapturous praise from Rush Limbaugh and drew the ire of George Bush supporters by referring to him as a slightly less evolved mammal. Yet, through all these times, including her unfortunate Wish list in Men’s Health, there has always been one place EB could come for a digital hug and pat on the head. Alas, she may have now gone beyond the pale even here. Two words: Donald Trump. EB, time for the dreaded five words, Where is this relationship going?  

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