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A My great-grandmother was named Hattie. My mother’s grandmother on the American Indian side. She died about a month after I was born. It’s not even on my birth certificate. It was just stuck on me.
Q Your name, Hattie, always stopped me, and I wondered why you didn’t change it. It’s an old name, like Hattie McDaniel, the most famous Hattie I know, who’s been dead since 1952.
A She was the only Hattie anybody ever heard of when I introduced myself through the years. They call me Pattie and I said, “No, it’s Hattie.” Call me Mattie, I’d say, “No, it’s Hattie.” Finally I would say “Hattie McDaniel.”
Q If you had a stage name what would it be?
Q Which morning network news show do you think is the best and why?
A Where do you come up with these? [Laughter] Oh, I kind of stopped watching. You think I’m dodging but it’s the truth.
Q Your reporting style reminds me a little of NBC’s Ann Curry’s. You’re a gentle spirit, empathetic — apparently less empathetic than I realized — but without being sappy or overly emotional. Am I close?
A Well, I would aspire to that.
Q Is this an appropriate tease for a TV show: “I asked Billy Ray if reports are true that Randy [Travis] is on life support. You’ll hear what he told me tomorrow …”
A Was than an actual one? [It was stated on “Entertainment Tonight.” Sound of exasperation, from Kauffman.] That is horrible.
Interviews are edited. Reach C.J. at email@example.com and see her on Fox 9. A highly edited, shorter version of my interview with Hattie Kauffman’s appears in print editions.