Continuing a good year for Abraham Lincoln, the National Geographic Channel gathered some of his fans for Monday night's D.C. premiere of "Killing Lincoln," starring Billy Campbell as the former president in the channel's first-ever, full-length docudrama.
Campbell called Lincoln "arguably our greatest president," while Virginia actor Josh Murray admitted he prefers George Washington over Lincoln, an appropriate response for the actor playing Lewis Powell, one of the conspirators working with John Wilkes Booth.
The channel brought the cast to town Monday to recreate the "last steps of Lincoln" with visits to Ford's Theatre and Lincoln's Cottage, concluding with lunch at the appropriately chosen Lincoln Restaurant.
None of that left the cast much time for sightseeing, or for a favorite activity of his youth that Campbell revealed to Yeas & Nays -- drinking bourbon-and-Cokes in the bars of Georgetown.
Jesse Johnson, who played Booth, didn't make the premiere because of travel delays, and on-screen narrator Tom Hanks and "Killing Lincoln" author Bill O'Reilly were also no-shows. But Geraldine Hughes, who plays Mary Todd Lincoln, gamely walked the red carpet with a sign reading "I have lost my voice."
Retiring Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood sang praises for the year's other big Lincoln movie -- Steven Spielberg's Oscar-nominated film -- and got a little political, arguing modern politicians should "take a lesson from movies like 'Lincoln.' "
"That movie is about how hard it is to get things done; it was hard back then and it's hard now," LaHood said. "I think the other thing [I admire] about Lincoln [is] surrounding himself, the way that President Obama did, with some people who at one time were his adversaries. I'm an example. I was never an adversary, but I'm a Republican."
When Yeas & Nays asked the self-proclaimed "big Lincoln fan" how he ranked the 16th president compared to the current one, LaHood offered a long pause and a grimace.
"You guys know I love Obama," he finally said with a grin. "I love Lincoln, too. I love both of them."
"Killing Lincoln" premieres Sunday at 8 p.m.