Birth of a meme

CNN correspondents and commentators experienced the 2016 presidential election in unique and interesting ways. This recollection and others were produced in conjunction with CNN's election project, "A Race Like No Other: The Unprecedented Election of 2016."

(CNN)Though I spent more than two and a half years covering Hillary Clinton, the most memorable moment of this campaign actually came while I was interviewing Michael Cohen, the Trump Organization's lawyer. I was filling in for Wolf Blitzer on CNN's "The Situation Room" about three months before the election, on the day Donald Trump brought in new campaign management.

I introduced Cohen and then asked him what the shakeup meant. He was apoplectic that I characterized it as such, so I tried another avenue, saying a campaign reorganization would make sense since Hillary Clinton was leading Trump in the polls.
"You say it's not a shakeup, but you guys are down ..."
"Says who?" Cohen interrupted.
    "The polls," I replied, puzzled. "Most of them? All of them."
    Earlier that day I had reviewed the latest series of national polls and every single one had Clinton plus-this or Clinton plus-that. It was indisputable, or so I thought, that she was ahead.
    A few seconds passed — what felt like an eternity of dead airtime — but I had answered his question, so I waited for him to respond.
    "Says who?" Cohen asked again.
    Wondering why we were quibbling over a hard and fast fact, I replied, "the polls — I just told you, I answered your question."
    "Which polls?" Cohen fired back.
    "All of them."
    "OK," he said.
    I continued the interview for a few more minutes and then went to a commercial break. Twitter and my email inbox were blowing up with comments. The video was already online. Less than two hours later, when I got off the set, I had thousands more Twitter followers than I had when I began the show. The clip was all over Facebook.
    Right after the show, I went out to grab a drink with my fiancé. The twenty-something bartender took our order, and as he turned away from us to get our drinks he suddenly turned back and looked at me.
    "Hey ... did you interview that Trump guy today?"
    He had seen it online.
    The next morning, a coworker told me the exchange was on the British breakfast shows. Over the coming days I heard from friends around the world who had seen it. It was even translated into Arabic.
    Several weeks later, while I was on the campaign trail, a stranger squinted at me and asked, "Are you Polls All of Them?"
    "Yes," I laughed. "Yes I am."