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Carl Cannon: The FishbowlDC Interview

cannonmug.jpgSay hello to National Journal’s Carl Cannon, who was just recently named a Resident Fellow by Harvard.

How many suits do you own? Four, but one is seersucker, so I’m not sure that counts, and another I can no longer button. I need to go shopping.

What word do you routinely misspell? Ensconce. But I like it anyway.

Did you see Brokeback Mountain? No.

Did you see The Da Vinci Code? No, nor read the book.

What’s the name of your cell phone ring? Just a ring, like an old rotary phone.

What time did you get up this morning? 5:33 — the dog’s fault.

When did you last cry and why? Being truthful, instead of clever, it was recently at the movies. We took our 11-year-old and her friend to the movies — well, that isn’t the point — the film was Freedom Writers.

Which of the seven deadly sins are you? I’ll tell the five I’m not, and you can figure out. I’m not envious, wrathful, gluttonous, slothful or greedy.

Beach, city or country? That, my man, is what our friend E.J. Dionne would call a classic “false choice.” My ideal day would be surfing at dawn in Santa Cruz, Calif., fly-fishing in the Truckee River in late afternoon, then dressing up and hitting the casinos in Reno at night. Actually, I did that once. If the question were what kind of people I like the best, well then: country.

Would you say you’re cute? Pretty? Hot? Beautiful? “Beautiful” — now there’s a word. In the book A River Runs Through It, Norman Maclean’s father calls Norman’s deceased brother Paul “beautiful.” I had a woman once apply that word to me. I didn’t really believe her, but it was a moment I remember, and unlike Paul I didn’t have to die to have it said.

Read the rest when you click below…(and see previous FishbowlDC interviews: Julie Mason, David Shuster, Joe Curl, Alex Pareene, Peter Beinart, Jonah Goldberg, Megyn Kendall, Ana Marie Cox, Jim Brady, Howard Mortman, Amy Argetsinger, Jose Antonio Vargas, Chuck Todd, Tom Gottlieb, Kelly Ann Collins, David von Drehle, David Lat, Mark Leibovich, Zain Verjee, David Plotz, Paul Kane, Karen Travers, Mark Halperin, Hugo Gurdon, Greg Kelly,Ken Rudin, John Dickerson, Anne Schroeder, Spencer Ackerman, Bret Baier, Bob Sellers, Greta van Susteren, Danielle Jones, Jonathan Salant, John McCalla, Pam Hess, Ryan Grim, Marc Ambinder, Marty Kady, Jack Shafer, Annie Lou Bayly, Jerry Zremski, Charlie Cook, Dave Hughes, Howard Fineman, Katie Tarbox, Mark Segraves, Chris Cillizza, Tom Sietsema, Bill Triplett, Robin Givhan, David Brody, Norah O’Donnell)


What color is your bathroom? Not sure.

How many emails do you receive a day, roughly? 150.

What’s your opinion of New York City? One of the great joys in my life is taking my daughters there for their first time.

What’s your favorite letter? “Y” — the first letter in the word “yes.”

What single person played the biggest role / had the biggest influence on your journalism career? There have been many influences, but you asked for the “single person.” That’s my dad.

Have you ever downloaded a podcast? If so, which one? Yes, lots. I downloaded “Julianne” by the subdudes just now, and am listening it as I type.

Who’s your all-time favorite American Idol candidate? Intending no disrespect to Carrie Underwood, it was Bo Bice. (That’s the one night I actually watched.)

When’s the last time you volunteered? Where? Last week. We make sandwiches for the homeless here at National Journal. Me and a buddy delivered the meals to the park where the food bank distributes them.

Who is your favorite active journalist? Man, that’s hard. I’d say Mark Halperin, but it’s his fiction I love most. Jeffrey Goldberg of the New Yorker is so very good. Peter Boyer, too. Katherine Boo reminds journalists of why they went into this profession in the first place. Samantha Powers and Nick Lemann went to academia, but they can still bring it. David von Drehle, who just left The Post for Time — now that’s a loss to newspapering. I’m sort of thinking aloud here…Mark Bowden just kicks ass! And that young man at The Atlantic, Ross Douthat, is a precocious talent. I thought the best of my generation was Michael Kelly, who died in Iraq, but who is still very alive in my heart.

What did you have for breakfast? Skipped it.

What’s your favorite item of clothing? My new fishing waders.

What one toiletry item could you not live without? There ain’t just one, sorry to say.

If you could have one superpower, which one would it be? Richard Ben Cramer and I, along with another friend, sat around one day about 20 years ago discussing this very notion. We used “superpower” to be a super-talent — you know, like Willie Mays’ ability at baseball, and so forth. I think I picked fastest man in the world, and Richard picked top tenor at the Met. Or maybe it was the other way around.

Better role model: GIJoe? Barbie? My niece Tiffany fought in Iraq. After she scored well in basic training at marksmanship, some of the young fellas in her unit nicknamed her “Sniper Barbie.” So I’m partial to that.

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