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Posts Tagged ‘Richard Wolffe’

Politico Loses Editor to MSNBC.com

A big loss for Politico today.

Laura McGann, a deputy managing editor, is leaving the publication to move to Manhattan to be MSNBC.com‘s news editor.

See the memos from Marty Kady and MSNBC.com‘s Richard Wolffe. Read more

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HuffPost‘s Sam Stein Not a Pothead ‘Anymore’

It was difficult to come away from Friday’s “Morning Joe” on MSNBC and not think Sam Stein of HuffPost isn’t high at least half of his waking hours. Though he tells FishbowlDC he isn’t. Not “anymore.”

A new pew poll shows 52 percent of Americans want marijuana to be legalized. The finding set off a discussion on the show with Stein arguing that it should be legalized. “This is so obvious,” he said. “We should obviously decriminalize pot.”

Show host Joe Scarborough asked why that was so obvious.

“Because everyone uses it,” replied Stein with MSNBC talking head Richard Wolffe looking at him knowingly.

“Maybe everyone in your circle,” said Scarborough.

Someone off camera asked Stein, “Is that why you’re so slow this morning?” A back-and-forth between Stein and Scarborough ensued…

Update: Stein writes in that he was “never a pothead,” which he describes as “someone who LOVES pot.”

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Spotted: MSNBC’s Richard Wolffe at Pennsylvania Ski Resort

The suits at NBC will be proud to learn that MSNBC.com VP and Executive Director Richard Wolffe never leaves his work far behind. He was spotted, not on the slopes, but typing away on his laptop at the Whitetail Ski Resort Starbucks in the mountains of Pennsylvania. He was seated at a table with an unidentified male.

Whitetail Resort, located in Mercersburg, Pa., offers everything from skiing, snowboarding and tubing to free snowcones for kids on Sundays, Adventure Camp and fly fishing and golf in warmer weather.

We reached out to Wolffe just in case he has a comment. UPDATE: He replied, “It’s true, I was. I love Whitetail. The skiing instructors there are the best. For someone who grew up in a country where it rains 95 percent of the year, I need all the instructor help I can get. Sadly this year I have too much work. But next year I’ll be back on the slopes.” Wolffe grew up in Birmingham, England.

Morning Chatter

 Quotes of the Day

“When did fact checking and journalism go their separate ways?” — Comedy Central Daily Show Host Jon Stewart to NBC Newsman Tom Brokaw, who appeared on the show last night. His reply: “Everything is so compressed, everything happens with warped speed.”

Speaking of fact checking…“Unfortunately when you look at some of the fact checking, they’re partisan, which is not what a fact check is supposed to be.”FNC’s Steve Doocy on Wednesday morning. At which point Gretchen Carlson chimed in, “It’s kind of sad when you have to have a fact checker to check the fact checker to check the fact checker, but anyway…

Yeah, anyway, The Atlantic‘s Molly Ball gets snappy about facts, saying, “Why is everyone so sure facts don’t matter? Journo self-loathing? Or do we think voters are stupid & illiterate?”

From one reporter named “Ben” to another: Are we fighting?

“Top #DNC2012 moment: running into @BuzzFeedBen and having him ask: ‘Are we fighting about something on Twitter? I can’t remember.’ No!” — Politico‘s Ben White who is referencing BuzzFeed Political Editor Ben Smith.

Journo takes backhanded stab at the Romneys

“You know what this first lady knows nothing about? The price at the pump when you fill up a couple of Cadillacs.” — MSNBC’s Richard Wolffe.

An Important Q to Ponder: “Michelle has become a terrific speaker. But why should that matter — or whether Ann Romney loves her husband — in picking a president?” — Washington Pollster  Stu Rothenberg.

Reporters geek out on C-SPAN

“There is nothing better than the old convention clips playing on @cspan. Love hearing these old speeches.” — WaPo‘s Aaron Blake.

“C-SPANis running clips of past Democratic keynotes. Gotta say, I’m digging the trip down memory lane as #DNC12 is about to convene.” — Jennifer Dlouhy, energy reporter for The Houston Chronicle and Hearst Newspapers.

Rave Reviews for Michelle

“Michelle speech offers a devasting contrast of where the Obamas came from with Romney’s privilege without uttering one nasty word. #DNC2012″ — WaPo Columnist EJ Dionne.

“Will be surprised if Dems don’t switch to live video from White House of Pres Obama and daughters applauding FLOTUS speech.” — CBS White House Radio Correspondent Mark Knoller.

“Is it gauche to wonder why #FLOTUS beloved dad didn’t try riding #dressage to help alleviate his #MS symptoms? #justasking” — Editorial Promotions Manager at Chronicle of Higher Education‘s Amy Alexander.

“I’ve never heard such a well delivered speech by a first lady ever.” — CNN’s Anderson Cooper.

“Barack Obama always jokes that Michelle gives the better speech. I’m starting to think that’s actually true.” — WaPo‘s Ezra Klein.

“Notice how FLOTUS makes her strong points without raising her voice. Very effective. #dnc2012″ — Mother Jones D.C. Bureau Chief David Corn.

Oh no she didn’t! Jo Anne Reed (a.k.a. Mrs. Ralph Reed) kicks Obama to the curb during FLOTUS’ convention speech: “Michelle Obama loves her husband more today than four years ago…well at least someone does…we don’t!!”

Meanwhile…CNN’s Lisa Desjardins announces that FLOTUS’s pretty orange sleeveless frock was designed by Tracy Reese. And HollywoodLife.com Editor-in-Chief Bonnie Fuller puts in a giant plug for the First Lady’s well-toned arms: “Michelle Obama has set sleeveless trend 4 all of female newscasters.”

The Eyebrow Observer

“Tim Kaine’s eyebrow is out of control.” — The Daily Caller‘s Matt Lewis.

The Random But Nonetheless Poignant Observer

“I see both Malia and Sasha are rocking skinny jeans after 10pm.” — ABC7′s Jummy Olabanji.

Funky reporting admission

“A source told me tonight that he has ‘personal knowledge’ of everything he told me. That’s comforting.” — Politico‘s Jake Sherman.

 

WHCD Tick Tock

We’re recapping the White House Correspondents’ Dinner from Saturday night with a special Tick Tock. Enjoy as we take you through the night.

By Betsy Rothstein, Peter Ogburn and Eddie Scarry

5:30 p.m.: I meet up with Eddie at a shitty McDonald’s in Adams Morgan as the sky opens up to a downpour. Eddie is visibly pissed. He had his umbrella in hand and left it since (he says) weather reports declared that it wouldn’t rain until around 11 p.m. That’s right, we start the evening with Eddie blaming the media.

5:45 p.m. Peter, Eddie and I convene at the Washington Hilton bar to inhale Cokes as we mentally prepare our plan of attack for the evening.

6 p.m. We approach the escalators and are turned away from going downstairs because we need to show the security man a copy of our invitation. He says he knows its stupid, but it’s the way it is. Our knight in shining armor, HuffPost‘s Ryan Grim approaches and hands me what is comparable to contraband — a photocopy invitation of one of the pre-parties. He has several copies.

6 :10 p.m. And we’re in. We’ve entered the Atlantic/NJ/CBS pre-party, where the star of the evening is actress Claire Danes. She’s there as a guest of CBS “Face the Nation” host Bob Schieffer. Her brother tags along. Nonetheless, Schieffer stays close by Danes. Asked if he has the best guest of the night, he says, “I mean, it’s Claire Danes, what more do I need to say?”

6:19 p.m. Outdoor parties are the loser of the evening. It’s cold, damp and people are on a mad hunt for the bars. But we also spot our first WHCD big butt of the night; or perhaps that’s just an ill-fitting coat.

6:34 p.m. Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) enters Atlantic fest. Mother Jones and MSNBC Contributor David Corn is here with the lead singer of OK GO. This was the big q of the night at this party — who is David Corn with? NJ Publicist Taylor West tells me FishbowlDC had better get to the bottom of this.

6:40 p.m. We’re now mingling out in the hallway, watching Bloomberg’s Stephanie Green interview model Elle MacPherson, who is wearing a high slitted sleeveless black gown, similar to what Angelina Jolie wore to the Oscars. We hear Stephanie conclude her interview by saying, “Thank you so much. I love your underwear!” Whoa! What? We asked Stephanie if she had said what we thought she did. She said what many inevitably say to reporters: “You’re not quoting me on this, are you?”

6:42 p.m. The Washington Examiner‘s Nikki Schwab gives Eddie the first cold shoulder of the day — it’s actually FBDC’s second bout of coldness from her in a 24-hour time frame. Don’t worry, there will be more.

6:43 p.m. Shock of all shocks, Politico‘s Mike Allen has his face buried in his Blackberry.

6:44 p.m. We wander into the TWT reception hoping to meet Uggie the dog and hear he was just there and just left. We meet TWT‘s Kerry Picket and her boyfriend, whom the blond towers over.  The party ironically serves Mexican food. WSJ‘s Neil King is here with his daughter Lilly.

7 p.m. Next stop: Bloomberg reception, where NY Mayor Mike Bloomberg is holding court in the center of the room in a purple bow-tie. A partygoer sees a black woman across the room and asks, “Is that Michelle Obama?” Actor Kevin Spacey is also here and singer Alicia Keys. Guests attack them for photographs like a bunch of star-crazed idiots.

7:10 p.m. Back out in the hallway, Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer asks Peter if he’s “just here to watch the hotties go by.”

7:15 p.m. We run into Pollster Frank Luntz, who’s dressed in a goofy striped suit and his signature sneakers. He’s miserable, he says. “Too many people, too chaotic. That said, there’s nothing like it.” He answers questions about his sneakers, saying that at this point he has maybe 35 pairs. He has three homes so he says he has to split them up. Luntz surmises by the end of the year he’ll have between 40 and 50 pairs. He explains that when he worked for a previous network they made him wear a tie, which he found so confining. So he decided they can force him from the neck up but from the feet down? That area is all his. No idea who owns the area between his neck and feet.

7:17 p.m. Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell says it’s “great to see so many young people here.” He forgets he’s not at a campaign rally.

7:20 p.m. Took a bathroom break. Walked in behind Schieffer. Walked out behind Luntz.

7:24 p.m. Lady drops tray of wine glasses. They shatter. Glass everywhere. She’s all nonchalant about it. No one hurt.

7:25 p.m.: James Davis, spokesman for the GOP Convention in Tampa, is bragging to Politico‘s Charlie Mahtesian that he ate 11 onions in 8 minutes during last year’s Vidalia Onion eating contest, which he nearly won. Because of the WHCA dinner, he’s missing this year’s onion-eating contest.

7:26 p.m.: HuffPost‘s Laura Bassett “on a mission” to find actress Reese Witherspoon. Just saw lead actress from “B in Apartment 3″ have to find out her name.

7:27 p.m.: NYT‘s Brian Stelter saunters by holding hands with his girlfriend, who has donned a bright red dress. “She is cute,” says Eddie. And we spot another set of WHCD big butts.

7:28 p.m. Rep. Fred Upton‘s niece, model Kate Upton, walks by. Heads turn. Onlookers try to figure out who she is. Because she looks like SOMEONE. Peter says he’s going to text his neighbor’s horny son to find out who she is.

7:29 p.m.: MSNBC Commentator Richard Wolffe escorting Chef Jose Andres for the second night in a row. Andres is responsible for the outstanding fare at The Atlantic‘s David Bradley‘s Friday night soiree that included things like crushed beat on toast and crispy avocado.

7:30 p.m. The balding gentleman with Elle MacPherson casually places his hand on her ass on their way down the hallway toward the ballroom.

7: 40 p.m. Eyes turn as CBS Chief White House Norah O’Donnell walks by in a long, bright yellow sequined dress that’s scooped out low in the back. Bystanders remark favorably on her attire. On her arm was Chef Geoff (Mr. Norah O’Donnell) escorting her. No one remarked on his tux.

7:42 p.m. Woody Harrelson seen leaving reception. Corona still in hand. Though he spent much of the weekend glued to Steve Schmidt‘s side, we hear he was flirting heavily with certain female reporters over the weekend.

7:43 p.m.: Always the charmer, Eddie rushes up to actress Kerry Washington, whose wearing a lovely long peach gown, and tells her how great she looks. Washington stars in the new series “Scandal” in which she plays a lawyer who has slept with the President of the United States.

7:44 p.m. Tom Hanks‘s son, Colin, who is the spitting image of his father, is mobbed by partygoers and friends in the hallway.

7:45 p.m. Garden brunch extraordinaire Tammy Haddad heads toward the ballroom with the 4’11” Daniel Radcliffe in a sparkly red and black blazer.

 

 

DC’s Top Political Talent Heads to The Big Easy

The Bipartisan Policy Center, led by Capitol Files‘ Most Powerful People in Washington List recipient Jason Grumet is bringing some of the top names in campaign strategy and political media coverage to New Orleans with just under a year to the 2012 presidential election.

CNN’s James Carville and Mary Matalin are co-hosting an impressive political lineup that includes the other political marital duo, The Daily Beast‘s John Avlon and CBS Early Show political contributor Margaret Hoover, CNBC’s John Harwood, Politico’s John Harris, Hollywood film producer, RJ Cutler (Capitol File’s “The September Issue,” “The War Room”), Steve Jobs autobiographer and former Time magazine Editor Walter Isaacson, frequent MSNBC commentator, Richard Wolffe, former Motion Picture Association of America head, Dan Glickman, Former Sen. Trent Lott, Sen. Bob Bennett, former Governors Lingle, Douglas, Henry, Bredesen and Strickland, and more.

The all day political Summit is tomorrow, Wednesday, November 16th on the campus of Tulane University.

And just in case you don’t get enough of Carville in New Orleans, he will have a cameo in the upcoming, “The Muppets” movie by Disney set to release November 23, 2011. That’s right, The Muppets. Is anyone surprised?

MSNBC Analyst Richard Wolffe Says He’s ‘Indebted’ to Rush Limbaugh Over Colonoscopy Remark

MSNBC Commentator and author Richard Wolffe is oddly grateful for right wing radio host Rush Limbaugh‘s colonoscopy slur that has Wolffe’s head lodged in an orifice of President Obama.

The comment came on the heels of Wolffe saying that opposition to Obama giving a jobs speech before Congress on Sept. 7 was racially tinged. Limbaugh ripped Wolffe a new one, saying on his radio program this week that if Obama ever has the above procedure “they’re going to find Richard Wolffe’s head there.”  Watch here.

When asked for comment on Limbaugh’s off-color remarks late Friday, Wolffe told FishbowlDC, “I’m deeply indebted to Mr. Limbaugh for proving my point about the connection between racism, disrespect for the President, and in his bizarre brain, homophobia. He first insisted that the Speaker reject the President’s speech in order to ‘put this guy in his place.’ Then he took an unusual interest in the President’s rear end.

“I can only assume he feels the same way about President Bush‘s anatomy. The only thing that surprises me about Limbaugh’s bigotry is the fact that so many supposedly respectable conservatives take their cues from him. Or worse, find him funny.”

Happy 15th Birthday MSNBC!

MSNBC President Phil Griffin and wife, Kory Apton

Former Democratic PA Gov. Ed Rendell and NBC’s Andrea Mitchell

MSNBC’s top brass pulled out the metaphorical pom poms Thursday night for the network’s 15th birthday party in downtown Washington. MSNBC President Phil Griffin dramatically climbed stairs, looked out at the crowd and profoundly praised some of the network’s top stars such as Andrea Mitchell, Chris Matthews, Ed Schultz and Chuck Todd.

On Schultz: “Honesty he’s got more heart than anyone on TV.”  On Todd: “Honestly the best political show in the morning after the 9 o’clock hour,” Griffin told a chuckling audience, making a clear reference to the popular “Morning Joe.” On Matthews: “He’s the heart and soul of MSNBC.” He praised Mitchell for being to go all over the world and back just to meet a deadline.

Matthews arrived at 7:45 p.m., an hour and a half after the party began, and left within 25 minutes. While awaiting his turn to speak, he folded his arms tightly to his chest and had a sourpuss look planted on his face — this is typical Matthews. Grumpy. Impatient. Glancing skeptically around the room.  He did manage dry humor. “Thank you for letting me speak freely, mostly,” he said pointedly, eying Griffin. Matthews then gave a shout-out to former Democratic Gov. Ed Rendell, a star in this D.C.-centric crowd. “He’s skinnier than he should be,” Matthews said. “I liked it better when he was fat.” At the end of his speech, his speech turned into a one-man pep rally with each passing word getting louder and LOUDER to the point where people turned to look at one another.

During Griffin’s speech, one chatty D.C. writer got the evil eye as he told the vast crowd to quiet down. “It’s like I am in high school. I was always getting yelled at for talking during the program,” the writer whispered to FishbowlDC.

Moving on to more unusual party topics: the Casey Anthony trial and CNN’s dumping of Eliot Spitzer. FishbowlDC polled a wide swath of journos at the party. We asked, “What did you think of the Casey Anthony verdict?” Most were happy to respond, even if their answer was that they purposefully stayed as far away from story as possible.

“That and synchronized swimming,” said MSNBC Contributor Richard Wolffe, naming topics besides the Casey Anthony trial that he doesn’t readily discuss. “Justice is blind and so am I.” Onto the topic of Spitzer, Wolffe remarked, “Inevitable. That was so predictable. Smart guy, but the show never took off. I don’t think you can find redemption  by anchoring a cable TV show. Redemption requires good deeds, community service and charitable work.”

Strangely, Schultz went mute on the topic of the trial and would not say a single word about that or anything. His amiable wife, Wendy, tried to coax him out of his shell. “This is a fun little event,” she said eating chips and guacamole. “Come on Eddie.” No budging. No speaking. Wendy kindly responded to our questions. She said neither she nor Ed followed the trial in any in-depth way.

The couple, who have been married for 13 years,  lives part-time in Detroit Lakes, Minn. and the rest in Manhattan. Wendy prefers Minnesota. She says she offers her husband feedback, but always makes sure it’s supportive. “I give him honest feedback,” she said. “A lot of it is pillow talk. I’ve always encouraged him.”

Read about the journo who got scolded by Griffin and see more photographs…

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FT Party: Characteristically Pretty in Pink

Anderson House, off Dupont Circle

Lionel Barber, Sen. Gillibrand, Jonathan Gillibrand and Richard McGregor


From Moet pink champagne to pink marshmallows dipped in coconut to lush bouquets of cherry blossoms, the Anderson House sparkled in the evening light. The pink was to remind guests of the salmon-hue of the Financial Times.

The Thursday night fest welcomed FT’s new Washington Bureau Chief Richard McGregor to town. A grand welcome it was. FT brass and staff jetted in from New York and London to put on an opulent gathering that included known Washington faces like former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan and wife, NBC’s Andrea Mitchell, WaPo’s Executive Editor Marcus Brauchli, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and husband, Jonathan. FT hosts included Editor Lionel Barber and U.S. Managing Editor Gillian Tett. Cocktail party circuit loyalists worked the room as usual, trading business cards and small talk and enjoying the booze.

But this was no ordinary Washington party in any other sense. It was a step above.  Even the hors d’oeurvres – gorgeous lobster rolls placed on fava beans, bites of marinated New York sirloin, or tuna tartare in small boutique sesame ice cream cones on a bed of coffee grounds – reflected it. FT has that sort of air – refined, upscale, impeccable — and isn’t a place terribly welcoming of anyone talking out of turn.

“The FT is very gentlemanly,” agreed Gary Silverman, FT‘s  U.S. News Editor who came in for the party from New York, who was spotted chatting with NYT’s Sabrina Tevernise and later with MSNBC Commentator and The Daily Beast’s Richard Wolffe.

Which is why, when toward the party’s end that Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist came to say goodnight to McGregor, that his parting note was jarring. “I’m going home to beat the kids,” Norquist said with a wide smile. McGregor, unfazed, bid him farewell.

The new bureau chief has a confident quietness. He’s neither the life of the party nor the wallflower. He isn’t full of thick Washington conceit, but he isn’t confused by what he was sent here to do. “Just get everybody facing in the right direction and let them go,” he says in his native Australian accent.

Radical change is not on his spoken agenda. “I’m building on the good legacy that [already exists],” he says. “No big changes.” Like Norquist, McGregor has a trick phrase up his sleeve. “I don’t have to come here and boot people up the bum,” he says.  A quick translation: “I don’t have to come here and push.”

Asked about the newspaper being a perceived pink, McGregor remarked, “I think of it as salmon.”

Born in Sydney, Australia, he worked for The Australian, the International Herald Tribune, the BBC and Far Eastern Economic Review and has spent much of the last decade in China as FT‘s Bureau Chief.  Washington is three months new, but so is America. “I have wanted to come to the states all my life,” he says. He’s living in Chinatown while he house hunts.

MSNBC’s Richard Wolffe and FT’s Gary Silverman

Lionel Barber, Andrea Mitchell, Alan Greenspan and Sally Quinn

Photo Credit: Sam Hurd

Find out who else was at the party…

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What’s Next in U.S. Politics?

Seems we’re having an avalanche of panel events.

Italian Ambassador Giulio Terzi is hosting a panel discussion called “What’s Next In U.S. Politics?” The discussion also includes a “book presentation” by MSNBC Commentator Richard Wolffe, author of  Revival: The Struggle For Survival Inside the Obama White House. On the panel will be NYT‘s Helene Cooper , CNN International Contributor Bill Schneider and The Weekly Standard’s/Fox News’s Stephen Hayes. The moderator will be Gerardo Greco. A reception is scheduled to follow the panel discussion.

The event is Tuesday Dec. 14 at 6 p.m. See further details below.

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