Radio has a new voice: Dawn Gibbons

First lady Dawn Gibbons, in the midst of divorcing scandalized Republican Gov. Jim Gibbons, says she strongly supports President Barack Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

And soon, she'll have her own radio gig to espouse those views.

In April, she starts broadcasting "the inside scoop" on politics for a half-hour, every weekday morning, on Reno's KBZZ-AM, 1270.

"I'm going to do a radio show in Reno, but I'm going to do it from Las Vegas," the first lady told me Saturday night on the red carpet for singing-ventriloquist Terry Fator's one-year anniversary at The Mirage.

She was approached to do the radio gig by Tom Quinn, CEO of the station's parent company, Americom.

"He just wanted a show about politics, and somebody that really had a passion for it, and knows the inside scoop with politicians," she said.

"And I can get people on the phone and get 'em on the show."

She discussed with Quinn -- who once helped manage campaigns for L.A. Mayor Tom Bradley and California Gov. Jerry Brown -- the possibility of broadcasting a three-hour daily show. But she has a house here and didn't want to leave Vegas for Reno to make a three-hour show happen.

Gibbons was in a terrific mood Saturday night, politely charming the media, and posing for photos with entertainers and her son Jimmy, plus cast members from "Thunder From Down Under." Then she laughed and applauded at Fator's show, along with other celebrities among a paying audience.

I asked her if she's changed political stripes. No, she said.

"I've always been a moderate," she said; she admires good politicians of both parties.

"When you govern, you have to govern from somewhere in the middle. You can't please all the people."

What does she think of Obama, with whom her conservative husband has clashed? Obama is "a brilliant man," she said.

"I love Obama," she said. "I think he's wonderful. I think he's a great president. I think he's doing his best and trying to solve the problems of our country.

"A lot of the problems -- he inherited. There was the bad economic recession. So his plate is full, but I think he's quite competent. God bless him. I think he's doing a great job."

Who are her favorite politicians?

"I have many," she said. "I did like Bill Clinton. I loved Ronald Reagan. I love Senator Harry Reid. I think he's a wonderful public servant.

"Sue Wagner was one of my favorite politicians. She was a state senator, and lieutenant governor, and the first woman to hold that slot. She's Republican, and she governs from the middle, and I admire her very much."

Gibbons learns a lot about governance by "just talking to people." She gives her mobile phone number to "many" people to find out what's on their minds and to help solve their specific problems.

I asked for her number. She gave it to me.

"I don't see you on the red carpets" usually, I said.

"Well, you know what?" she said with a broad smile. "I've had three years of first lady. ... My schedule has been a little bit too booked for the fun things. And I need to have more fun."

She was very happy her son Jimmy, 22, was on her arm. He lives in New York and is set to graduate from the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in June. Next for him is either Navy Flight or Coast Guard Flight, he said.

He flew to Vegas on Thursday and went clubbing at Mirage club Jet.

"He's had more fun this week in Las Vegas," she said. "He's ready to move here."

"Let's talk about this," I said. "A 22-year-old man in Las Vegas?"

"I know," she said, smiling but looking motherly. "I get a little nervous at night. When he comes home, I'm like ..." and then she held her breath comically.

"He likes the women here," she said.

"What young man wouldn't?" Jimmy said.

I asked Jimmy what the most surprising thing is about his mom.

"I think she's able to be better friends with my best friends," he answered. "My best friends actually call her before they call me!"

She laughed.

"That's because I take their phone calls at 3 in the morning when they need me to pick them up!" she said. That is, Jimmy's Vegas friends call her here because he's usually in New York, she explained.

"No, no," he said seriously. "She's able to befriend and impress all ages of people, not just adults, but people my age and teenagers."

I told the first lady she came off very warm on the red carpet, and that she and I have a mutual friend who has been telling me we'd get along great if we ever met.

"Well," she said with a chuckle, "what do they say -- I'm 'a kick in the pants'?"

Doug Elfman's column appears on Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays. Contact him at 383-0391 or e-mail him at He also blogs at