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Katie Makes Her First Post-NBC Appearance -- Clearwater Fans Swoon Appropriately



I'll say this for former Today show dominatrix Katie Couric: She knows how to turn a phrase. Especially when said phrase involves her most treasured charity -- fighting colon cancer.

Here's an example of some of the puns she unleashed while speaking on the disease this morning at Ruth Eckerd Hall, where she appeared before a sold-out crowd of about 300 people who paid upwards of $150 a plate to break bread with the future anchor of the CBS Evening News

In urging those over 50 to submit to a colonoscopy, she noted, "Early detection nips this isaster in the bud -- or in this case, the butt."

On her own, well-publicized and televised colonoscopy: "Everyone knows about my colonoscopy -- talk about getting the inside scoop...i really was concerned about over exposure on that story."

On why she works so hard to spread word about regular testing: "Our whole goal is to start a movement -- that's probably a bad choice of words."

And her final point: "Now, when you tell your friends to stick it where the sun don't shine, you can take solace that you're actually doing a good thing."

Was this America's sweetheart talking?

In truth, it was Couric's exchange for bringing her six-city "listening tour" to town. Over the next week or so, she'll visit Dallas, Minneapolis, Denver, San Diego and San Francisco, where local stations will convene groups of 80 to 100 average citizens for private town hall meetings to express their concerns and what they'd like to see when she takes over the CBS Evening News Sept. 5. (See my coverage in the Times here).

The only fully public event during these visits is a charity event she will headline in each town. In Clearwater, it was the kickoff of a $25-million colon cancer awareness campaign developed by the American Cancer Society. And though she often speaks of how her husband Jay Monahan and sister Emily died of different cancers within three years of each other, she spent all of her 45-minute talk today on the issue -- introducing cancer survivors in the audience and repeatedly urging those present to undergo regular testing.

"I thought, to not take advantage of this national platform would be criminal," said Couric of the time after Monahan's death. "I don't want anyone to die of embarassment."

It was an interesting strategy, earning Couric, CBS, WTSP-Ch. 10 and the Cancer Society a fair amount of local and national press -- cameras from Entertainment Tonight and Inside Edition were present today -- while putting the focus on a subject (namely, her continuous activism on cancer issues) which kept Couric from having to answer too many questions about what she'll do in September. Nice move.

[Last modified: Wednesday, July 21, 2010 2:36pm]


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