Wolf Blitzer, host of CNN's The Situation Room, has covered some big stories in his career, but his mid-December trip to North Korea almost topped them all. While he tagged along with freelance diplomat and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson for six days, North and South Korea rattled their sabers and nearly went to war.
Blitzer recalls watching TV when martial music began playing. "I thought to myself, 'Oh-oh, this is it.' " The crisis eased and Blitzer continued his fact-finding mission, which he admits was skewed. "They show you the things they want to show you," he says. But he came away feeling the pundits are wrong predicting Pyongyang will crumble. "I didn't get that sense," he says. It wasn't all grim analysis for Blitzer, who's planning a one-hour documentary in January. He was wowed by North Korea's love for American culture. Kids not only want to learn English, he says, but want to speak it with an American accent. On his last night, the flight out was delayed and Blitzer's group fell into a karaoke bar where Tony Orlando's "Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree" was playing. "I kept saying to myself," he says, laughing, "we're stuck in Pyongyang because of the fog and we're doing karaoke."