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Posts Tagged ‘Ryan Grim’

Morning Chatter

Quotes of the DayElection Banter

“Holy. Cow. The magic wall… Is ON THE FLOOR” — The Atlantic Associate Editor Brian Fung.

Green Eggs and Ham — why not?

“Mic check guy just read ‘Green Eggs & Ham,’ in its entirety, at Obama election night HQ. Now reading the Constitution.” — HuffPost‘s Jennifer Bendery.

All in a day’s work

“2 stories & 2,600 words already written today, the last 1,000 drunk will be tougher.” — InTheseTimes labor journo Mike Elk.

5:51 p.m. Famous Last Words

“CONFIDENCE: Romney tells the traveling press he FEELS like a win is coming. He’s written only one speech so far: a victory speech.” — NBC News’ Garrett Haake.

Foreshadowing….5:51 p.m.

“Some rare, non spin on twitter –> RT @jmartpolitico: A senior GOPer w close ties to Romneyland emails a single word: ‘worried.’” — HuffPost‘s Sam Stein.

In response to that… “So people in Romney camp sending out nervous messages to liberal reporters? Really? Wonder how big the camp is.” — Commentary‘s PodWhore (a.k.a. John Podhoretz.)

Reporters and Romney staff clap: the end is near

“Applause on Romney plane — from reporters and staff — as we land in Boston. Final flight of Romney 2012 campaign is over.” — AP‘s Steve Peoples.

Oops! Flack gets ahead of herself: 6:03 p.m.

“I’m not saying this to get ahead of myself, but is Obama capable of giving a graceful concession speech? I’m not sure.” — Amanda Carpenter, speechwriter for Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.).

Channeling Carville

“Carville (paraphrase): If Romney loses Virginia he’s in more trouble than a three-legged, cross-eyed gator on a freeway. #election2012″ — National Journal mag Deputy Editor James Oliphant on Democratic pundit James Carville.

And another thing on Carville…“For god’s sake someone either tighten Carville’s tie or unbutton his top button.” — TPM‘s Evan McMorris-Santoro. And this…“On CNN, James Carville is so excited he seems to have removed his exoskeleton.” — Vanity Fair.

Unraveling…7:17 p.m.

“It’s 7:20 and my nerves are already shot. #ElectionDay2012 #TeamRomney” — MSNBC and The Daily Beast‘s Meghan McCain.

Watch your words around the kiddies, journo warns

“Careful y’all: Your kids are learning a lot about how to win and lose graciously by how you act today.” — Politico‘s Patrick Gavin.

Attack on Trump minus his name

“Is there anyone who punches further below their weight than rich guys who dabble in politics?” — BuzzFeed Political Editor Ben Smith.

From the Road…“AT THIS POINT: crowd at Dem HQ is ready to cheer for nearly anything. Just screamed like Obama being up in Minnesota is 1980 gold. #openbar” — CNN’s Lisa Desjardins.

 ’Saucy’ Meghan Kelly

“Meghan Kelly is serving #curlytopsaucy tonight on Fox.” — Bravo’s Andy Cohen.

Politico reporters: Relax? Forget it!

“To all the road-weary reporters who just want a break: Congrats! You’ll be sitting in the Senate press gallery for the next 9 months.” — Fake Jim VandeHei, faux Twitter account to Politico Executive Editor Jim VandeHei.

Important, Embarrassing Question to Ponder: “So Megyn Kelly had to get white men in suits to confirm that Obama would go to Ohio. (Because her audience wouldn’t believe her?)” — Reuter‘s Megan McCarthy.

 In praise of Nate Silver’s ass

“I think Nate Silver deserves a ‘tell me how my ass tastes’ moment, right?” — HuffPost‘s Jason Linkins.

Journos react to FNC Karl Rove’s TV breakdown

  • “Karl Rove looks like a kid who just learned there’s no Santa Claus.” — TPM‘s Sahil Kapur.
  • “Fox is gone full bananaspants.” — The Guardian‘s Ana Marie Cox.
  • “Barone explaining to Rove why Obama gonna win OH like watching someone explain to little kid that his dog died.” — Bloomberg‘s Joshua Green, referencing The Washington Examiner‘s Michael Barone.
  •  ”Email from big GOP donor: ‘Karl looks like a fool.’” — Politico‘s Ken Vogel.
  • “Bret Baier is now trying to figure out how to balance Karl Rove’s petulance and the FNC ‘decision desk.’ Train wreck.” — ClearChannel’s Colby Hall.
  • “Rove has basically bullied the Fox hosts into backing off from their call of the election. Amazing TV.” — The New Yorker‘s Ryan Lizza.
  • “Fox thinks it’s up to them who wins. It’s not up to them. It’s over guys. (But please keep this up, this is amazing TV.” — HuffPost‘s Ryan Grim.

And Greta tries to inject a dollop of sanity…

“Fox News says President Obama re-elected.” — FNC anchor Greta Van Susteren at 11:34 p.m.

Speaking of delusional…“I’m neither naive nor optimistic. Just saying I refuse to give up. R some of u telling me ur going to throw in the towel? I don’t think so.” — David Limbaugh, author and brother to conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh, after Obama won Ohio.

Depression is…

“Gay marriage, pot, an elated media, and Obama… Yeah, I’ve had better nights.” — Breitbart.com editor John Nolte.

Plouffe Daddy!

“Congrats on a ground game well-played, Plouffe Daddy.” — Freelance video journo for Wonkette and other outlets Liz Glover, referencing Obama campaign advisor David Plouffe.

Uh oh…where’s Romney? 12:11 a.m. 

“Danger for Romney is that if he delays concession too long he’ll look like a sore loser.12:11 still no concession.” — The Daily Mail‘s Toby Harnden, nearly one hour after NBC called the race for Obama.

Outside the White House: 12:33 a.m.

“People are climbing the trees outside of the White House. Total mayhem.” — BuzzFeed’s Rebecca Berg.

Find some inspiration with ex-Love Connection host Chuck Woolery and take notice of a few R’s who handled the loss with maturity…. Read more

HuffPost Turns 5

Over the weekend HuffPost‘s Washington D.C. newsroom celebrated five years of existence with a with a roof party atop their offices on Pennsylvania Avenue. As you can see by the photograph, Sam Stein (third row, sunglasses, toward the middle), Howard Fineman (gray fluffy hair, just beside Stein), Bureau Chief Ryan Grim (third guy from the right in back) and the rest of the HuffPost political team were all there to celebrate.

A few other people to point out in the mix. Front and center is FishbowlDC Fan Club member Andrea Stone. We can’t get enough of her astute thoughts. Visually she is the shortest human in the bunch. Juxtaposed with the 555-foot Washington Monument, it’s possible that she may be a Munchkin. Then, right behind her is a homeless guy who somehow sneaked into the party. Just so happens his name is Jason Linkins too! Out front in the pretty mustard yellow dress is Amanda Terkel.

Happy Anniversary HuffPost!

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.

 

 

Press-ing Early Morning Matters

Current TV’s newest star doesn’t swear much, but when he does, “shit” is at the top of his profanity repertoire. The word came flying out of his mouth this morning as he spilled Greek yogurt on his desk during a commercial break. Somehow he let me into his freezing Capitol Hill radio den for three and a half hours to observe.

“Oh shit, oh God,” he said.

Lucky for Bill Press, his new employer, Current TV, which is now simulcasting his morning radio show, has an eight-second delay if it ever happens while on air. This morning the network ran his radio program for the first time. The upshot: More exposure for his show with a budding network; brand new viewers who call in from around the nation from places like York, Pa. and Hollywood, Calif. The downside: “MSNBC hasn’t called in three weeks,” said Press, noting that the network that most frequently invited him on as a guest won’t likely call again anytime soon, nor will Fox News. Press doesn’t seem to mind. “The word [Current TV President] David Bohrman kept using was voyeuristic,” he tells me in an interview after the show, explaining the premise behind airing his radio show on TV. “I’m now the morning show on Current TV and happy as a clam.”

The cursing came during a commercial break as Press gulped down yogurt and sipped on coffee out of a plastic black and white Current TV thermos.

To be clear, the network ought to be more fearful of Press’s longtime producer Peter Ogburn, who also happens to be a FishbowlDC Contributor. He may glare me down while I write this, but anyone who knows Ogburn even a little knows that his language is riddled with profanity so intense that we’re not going to be able to repeat it here lest his small children read FishbowlDC this afternoon, which they have been prone to do with their milk and cookies. Needless to say, with him “shit” is the least of Current TV’s worries.

The Bill Press team, which consists of Ogburn and Dan Henning, starts obscenely early. They’re in well before 6 a.m. when everything kicks off. Airing Press’s radio program on TV doesn’t require many changes — the biggest is powder. Each of the men must don powder because, says the Current TV publicist on hand, who wants to see shiny heads?

Press was a little more orange-hued than he may have originally intended this morning. A viewer wrote on Twitter, “Just turned Current TV on — it’s a giant orange BP head. Looks like he just left the tanning booth.” WaPo national political reporter Nia-Malika Henderson, a guest in studio this morning, also noticed Press’s sun-kissed face and said he looked like Soul Man. The powder might explain things. The one he used was called “Sandy.” Ogburn begrudgingly “schmeared” the gunk on at about 5:40 a.m., saying, “I’m going to look like Divine when this is over.” He thought better of it. “I’m going to look like the world’s cheapest prostitute.”

Henning returns from powdering himself and strangely looks to Ogburn for approval. “Peter, does my makeup look alright? I don’t look like a cheap whore do I?” Ogburn replies, “Well, Dan….” his voice trails off in a non-response.

Ogburn doesn’t necessarily like having the cameras peer down on him during the show, but he’s learning to accept what it feels like to be a Kardashian. “That shit is always on me,” he says with a glance toward the corner camera. “It’s terrifying.”

In segment two, Press dons a dark Trayvon Martin-inspired hoodie (as pictured above), which apparently went over swimmingly in the Los Angeles control room… Read more

Media Matters Ultra Private Book Party

Politico’s Ken Vogel questions David Brock. Brock speaks to the crowd.

Media Matters held a strictly invitation-only book party last night at its downtown Washington headquarters on Massachusetts Avenue. No crashers were permitted. No guests of invitees were allowed in.

“Have a good night!” The Daily Caller‘s Nick Ballasy called to me as he stood wistfully with a camera crew a healthy distance away from the building.  He groused that no one worthy of interviewing had yet entered the building. (Considering the ongoing series on MMFA, no one from The Daily Caller was getting within spitting distance of the party.)

In some ways it felt like the Gap. There was a female greeter outside the door. Once inside I was led to highly organized RSVP tables where they checked me in and gave me a bright red bracelet that read, The Fox Effect. This would be the book co-written by MMFA Founder David Brock and Ari Rabin-Havt, a former aide to Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.). Upstairs on the sixth floor there was another greeter, this time a male employee in a dark blazer stationed outside to say hello.

Reid was among the evening’s speakers. But rumor had it that he might not be able to attend because of votes so they were still scrambling for who would be their keynote speakers. But soon enough the waif of a Senate Majority Leader wandered in with a small entourage, complete with security personnel with a clear wire in his ear. Reid is soft-spoken and quiet and doesn’t make a big splash.

So when Politico‘s Ken Vogel (who isn’t exactly shy) approached and tried to ask questions, Reid politely took Vogel’s business card and stuffed it back into Vogel’s front shirt pocket and told him he wasn’t there to do interviews. Vogel returned to a small gaggle that included HuffPost‘s Ryan Grim and MMFA Publicist Jess Levin, and regaled us with the story as well as stories of liberal haters who came after him when he covered then-Sen. Hillary Clinton‘s (D-N.Y.) ’08 campaign. Vogel’s a decent storyteller – there were death threats, Jew-hater insults and more. He said he got more hate mail from liberals than conservatives.

WaPo‘s Erik Wemple was spotted mingling in the crowd. He mentioned that he’d had lunch with FBDC lover Ryan Kearney of the illustrious TBD the day before. I told Wemple that we had been offering Kearney daily career counseling. I silently cursed MMFA for having not having the good sense to invite Kearney so we could finally meet face to face.

Aside from hippy, frumpy, bushy-haired MMFA employees (they have good excuses for their crumpled look, they watch Fox News relentlessly around the clock) other notables in the crowd: Hollywood on the Potomac writer and publicist Janet Donovan, Bullfight Strategies’ Eric Burns (former President of Media Matters) and Karl Frisch (also formerly of MMFA). Burns by far had the best party hair – his coiffe was thick, spiky and impeccable.

The crowd was deceptively entertaining. Genius Rocket Chairman Mark Walsh was screwing around with lobbyist David Jones‘ name tag and said he was going to wear it and get intoxicated. “I’m going to get drunk and vomit,” Walsh promised. Jones, meanwhile, was busy talking up Brock. “His book, Blinded by the Right, was the most defining book in politics of the 90s,” he told me. “It showed behind the scenes attacks on President Clinton from the inside. That’s why I’m here.”

Soon enough the speeches got underway. Standing before the crowd was Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.), Reid and Brock. At one point Reid made a decently funny joke about the digitized world we’re living in and used his digits, as in his fingers. Franken laughed extra loud and looked at him with a just a hint of surprise that he could actually be funny.”Surprisingly he doesn’t talk very much,” Reid said of Franken, “but when he does, we listen.” Al’s wife, Franni Franken, was in the crowd. “No, more, More, MORE!” she said, heckling her funnyman husband.

Reid thanked Brock for his service to the Democratic Party and promised his own in return. “I thank him for all he has done for the Democratic Caucus and the Senate,” he said. “I’m going to do everything I can to make sure this book is a success.”

Though Franken cracked a number of genuinely funny jokes, Brock initially looked ill at ease. He seemed to loosen up when it was his turn to speak and he got a chance to do what he does best — skewer Fox News.

“The bottom line is this is not a news channel at all,” Brock told the crowd. “It’s like the Republican National Committee, but they do a better job in our view.” Then he fed his brand of red meat to the liberal crowd, exclaiming, “Glenn Beck no more.” The crowd cheered: “WOO HOO!” And more. Brock said the fact that FNC President Roger Ailes has said the network needs a “course correction” means “they are feeling the pressure.”

Asked if he felt Fox News would help his book sales, Brock replied, “Fox is giving us a lot of free publicity these days, I’ll say that much.” As for The Daily Caller‘s ongoing series on him and whether he felt that would also help boost his book, he had nothing to say. Nor did anyone else in the room. “I’m not commenting on that right now,” he said, as he walked in unusual diagonal zigzags away from the vicinity of my notebook.

Q: Where Were You on Sept. 11?

Today we ask Washington, D.C. journalists one question:

Where were you on Sept. 11?

Politico‘s Roger Simon: “I was just climbing in the car to drive to work when my wife came rushing into the garage to tell me of the attack on the first tower. Made phone calls and scribbled notes while driving into work, by which time second tower had been hit. Began making more calls, taking more notes and writing when the plane hit the Pentagon. More calls, more notes, more writing. Journalism can be a great anesthetic…until it wears off.”

The Hill‘s White House Correspondent Sam Youngman: “I was in college at Western Kentucky University. We had put the school paper to bed the night before, so I was sleeping in when my roommate woke me up. We sat there in silence watching the TV as the towers burned. He got up to get a beer, and I walked to the newsroom. A couple days later, my hillbilly buddies and I were ordering hundreds of bourbons at an all-you-can-drink bar. It seems silly, but listening to my drunk country buddies talk about what they would do to bin Laden gave me hope for the future of the country.”

Roll Call‘s John Stanton: “I was at the Inside Washington Office news room in Crystal City, which had a pretty great view of the Potomac and Pentagon. My desk faced out of a window, and I was just sitting down to check Drudge to see if he had any stories on the plane crashing into the building in New York. Something caught my eye over the top of my monitor. When I looked up you could see smoke and then flames coming from the Pentagon.”

HuffPost‘s Ryan Grim: “I was working at Chestertown Middle School on the Eastern Shore as an aide in a classroom of kids with behavioral problems (the same middle school I attended, actually). I remember giving a lesson about who Osama bin Laden was and why al Qaeda hated us. They actually sat and listened quietly to the entire thing, unpersuaded by my promises that Osama had no designs on Chestertown. My girlfriend, now wife, Elizan, was in Manhattan, and I was able to get a hold of her in the afternoon. Three weeks earlier, I’d turned down a job with Morgan Stanley on the 42nd floor of the second tower, a decision I’m very pleased with on a number of levels. Though I suspect I’d have been fine because I’m not one to be in the office by 9 a.m.”

Politico’s Julie Mason: “I drove with a coworker in a berserk, hurtling panic in a rental car from D.C. to NYC and covered the story from there for the Houston Chronicle for about 10 days. The thing that no one likes to say is that it was really the story of a lifetime — a huge challenge to try to understand and explain. And the trickiest part was writing about it clearly, without being overwrought — especially when you felt overwrought. I can’t believe it’s been 10 years.”

NBC and MSNBC “The Daily Rundown” Host Chuck Todd: “I was at ‘The Hotline,’ our offices at The Watergate on the third floor. We decided to publish, didn’t know what else to do. We turned it into a public service of sorts. Just loaded it up with every bit of info we could get our hands on, whatever every network was reporting. I’ll never forget the visual of my staff racing to the big windows we had overlooking the Potomac and simply staring in the sky wondering if another plane was coming – total frozen fear. I wouldn’t let anyone take the Metro home. A few of us with cars took everyone home. The four issues of that week 9/11,9/12, 9/13 and 9/14 are the proudest issues I oversaw during my days there. I still have them, framed.”

WaPo Opinion Writer Jonathan Capehart: “On Sept. 11, I went to vote in the Democratic Primary and then headed to my desk at the Bloomberg for Mayor campaign. At one point, I looked up at the bank of televisions and said, ‘Look, the World Trade Center is on fire!’ The rest of the day was a literal nightmare.”

C-SPAN Communications Director Howard Mortman: “Ten years ago I was still with ‘The Hotline,’ writing my online column.  Sept. 11, 2001 was the day of the New York City mayoral primary.  That morning, I boarded an Amtrak train to go cover the primary.  I even had an invite to Michael Bloomberg‘s election-night party.  The train left Washington around 8:30 a.m.  As I approached Baltimore headed north, my cell phone went off twice.  My wife of four months and a good friend both told me that a plane had hit the World Trade Center. Both warned me not to continue on to New York.  A minute later, the train arrived in Baltimore.  I decided to abandon the trip and got off.  The train left the station (I learned later that that train was one of many that became stranded that day).  In Baltimore, I saw on TV what was happening.  There were already huge lines for taxis.  No real options to head back south to D.C.  Back down on the train tracks, the light rail was still operating.  I got on a deserted light rail train. But it terminated at BWI airport.  About 30 minutes later I arrived at BWI airport.  By that point airports had stopped operating.  BWI was full of stranded — and dazed — travelers.  I saw on TV that the twin towers were gone.  I had no way of getting home, so I called my parents. They drove from Greenbelt and picked me up.  They took me back with them, where my wife met me.  We drove back to DC (we lived then at 22nd and L Streets, NW).  An eerie feeling getting into the city, when so many were leaving.  The city was empty.  Outside our building was a humvee and soldiers holding machine guns. We went out for a walk, toward the Pentagon, saw the fire and smelled the smoke, saw more soldiers, walked near the State Department and White House, then returned home and watched TV the rest of the day and night.”

Slate’s Dave Weigel: “No great story here — I was in my parents’ house in Delaware, a few days before heading back to school. My granddad was watching TV while I was upstairs updating my HTML blog. He called me down, and then we watched TV, and then my mother called from a barber shop to ask if we were watching. We picked up my dad from his evacuated building, and later my friends who’d also gotten the day off hooked up with me for a trip to buy the new Dylan album. Returning from that, I updated my blog again.”

The Washington Examiner‘s Nikki Schwab: “Sept. 11, 2001 was a day of immense sadness, but for those of us living in Southwestern Pennsylvania, it was also a day of massive confusion. I was a senior in high school at the time, having lived in the small town of Ligonier, Pa., my entire life. After the World Trade Center had been hit in New York City my friend Brea ran into Ms. Barr’s jazz band homeroom and said, ‘We’re being attacked.’ We threatened a mutiny against music that morning and informed Ms. Barr that we wanted to watch CNN. She finally obliged. We watched the Twin Towers collapse and heard the news about the Pentagon. I always carried my cell phone, what we nicknamed ‘the contraband,’ to school even though it was against school rules. Using that phone my friends secretly called their parents from the instrument storage room. That’s when we found out about how close Flight 93 was to where we lived. My friends’ moms had seen the plane wobbling through the air before it finally came down about 30 miles away in Shanksville, Pa. At the time we didn’t know why one of the hijacked planes was flying through our backyards. Rumor on the street was that it was on its way to attack Pittsburgh. (Yeah, right). Now we know that it was the heroism of the passengers and flight attendants that most likely saved countless lives right here in D.C.”

AP’s Phil Eillott: “I was a junior at Ohio University on Sept. 11, 2001, and the managing editor of our independent student-run daily newspaper, The Post. It was our first week of publishing for the academic year and I was the late editor the day before. I was at the office until after 4 a.m., making sure the edition got to print by the 6 a.m. deadline. I was still asleep when the first tower was hit. An early editor called with few details to wake me. I was getting ready for work when a second phone call came in with news of a second plane. Not quite understanding what was going on, I made a quick stop at the bookstore to pick up a textbook on my way to The Post. By the time I arrived in the newsroom, the significance of what had happened started to sink in.”

HuffPost‘s Christina Wilkie: “I was an intern at The Brookings Institution, and I arrived at work just after the first tower was hit. Twenty of us crowded around a TV in the conference room as we tried to absorb what was going on. There was another new intern, Tracee, who had never been in a big city before and didn’t know where to go, so I took her with me and we walked up Massachusetts Ave in the middle of the street, 30 blocks to my house. We sat together, virtual strangers, for the next six hours.”

Politico‘s Keach Hagey: “I was in Manhattan, on my way to work. I ran into a friend coming out of the subway at 23rd St. who said, ‘Turn around.’ I looked down Broadway and saw the first tower fall. People were just standing in the middle of the street, screaming.” [Hagey was writing for non-profits at the time.]

C-SPAN’s Steve Scully: “I was on C-SPAN doing a segment on President Bush’s education agenda when I received a note about a plane hitting the first tower of the World Trade Center. It was approximately 8:47. The House was in at 9 a.m. so I was off the air at 9. I turned the corner and saw the 2nd plane hit the 2nd tower LIVE at 9:02. Then immediately mobilized because I knew, we knew, this is not just an accident. We stayed on air for days after that.”

ABC White House Correspondent Jake Tapper: “I was in my apartment in Adams Morgan trying to figure out what I would write about that day when my then-boss at Salon.com, Kerry Lauerman, called. He told me to turn on the TV. I did just as the second plane hit. No one knew what was happening. Kerry soon called again because there were rumors that the Mall was on fire. In reality, it was smoke from the Pentagon. I hopped on my bicycle to go check it out; I didnt want to have to worry about traffic. Rumors were swirling — there was a bomb at the State Department, a car bomb at Treasury. At the Mall, traffic was insane, cars were at a standstill. I ran into a friend, Ellen Gamerman, then of the Baltimore Sun. Car radios were blaring news and people would gather around to listen. I decided to get out of there and gave Ellen a lift on the bike. When we got near the White House, a panicky policeman told us to get out of there as soon as possible since there were reports that a fourth plane was headed to the White House. Right around then is when the towers started to fall. The whole world had changed. No one knew what to do. I called around and made sure everyone I knew and cared about in NYC and New Jersey was OK.  My little brother was living in Cairo, so there was a whole new worry I immediately adopted. I was glued to the TV for hours. No one knew
how many people had died. Peter Jennings was great that day. A friend of mine and I went to go give blood. We just needed to do something. We walked to the Red Cross but they were overwhelmed so they sent us away. I think all that blood ended up getting spoiled anyway. Kerry kept calling me to ask me what I was going to write. [Read the story here.] It wasn’t easy to write that day. Looking back on it, I’m amazed at how dispassionate the story seems. I was overwhelmed with grief. The next day I went to the Capitol — I
worked in the Senate Periodical Press Gallery — and called Gary Hart
and Warren Rudman, who had chaired a commission warning of a terrorist
attack. Their warnings had been ignored. That day I got angry. It was a weird time to be a reporter.”

WaPo‘s Aaron Blake: “Getting ready for my first day of college at the University of Minnesota. I still went to class for some reason. I think that’s proof that this didn’t set in right away.”

Poshbrood Travel Blog Founder and blogger Elizabeth Thorp: ” On 9-11, I had a plane ticket to fly from IAD to Denver around 11 am. I was Executive Director of the National Campaign for Hearing Health and we had a board meeting in Denver. A few colleagues had gone out Monday. I don’t love to fly (ironic, huh since I’m a travel writer and founder of travel website and consultancy Poshbrood?) My grandfather was killed in a small plane crash and I grew up in a family of nervous fliers. Almus and I had been married a year and lived in a condo near the Cathedral. I had gotten up early to exercise, had come back and was making coffee, reading the paper and watching the news. I was extra nervous about flying that day, just had a bad feeling and was dragging my feet. My insomniac mom called from LA around 8:30 a.m. and I told her I was going to Colorado but really didn’t want to fly…she said the weather’s great today, you’ll have a smooth flight! Later I was watching the Today Show (way pre-George on GMA which is our new morning show) and they broke in to say a small plane had it the Tower and showed the footage. I had been in the building recently for a client meeting and thought ‘the building is huge, there is no way that’s a small plane.’ I got online (dial up!) and checked to see how many other United flights there were to Denver as I didn’t want to head to the airport yet (but should by 9:30 am). There were more flights and I decided to wait a bit before heading to airport. I kept watching the TV and live (I remember it was Katie Couric and Al Roker talking) watched as the second plane hit the Tower. My blood ran cold and I knew something deliberate, horrible and evil was happening and it didn’t matter if I went to the silly board meeting or not. My husband came in from his run and he said he knew by my face something was very, very wrong. My parent’s called me to make sure I didn’t get on the plane (duh!) and several people thought I might be going to LA from IAD and couldn’t get through to me because lines were jammed. We watched live as Jim Miklaszewski reported an explosion at the Pentagon which was the other IAD plane and got a text that the rest of the office downtown at 17th and K were evacuating. We went to the roof of our condo and saw the plume of smoke at the Pentagon and I couldn’t get my head around the malicious evil of “people” who would deliberately crash a plane of innocents. I still can’t. We then started hearing about the PA plane crash and acquaintances or classmates who were in planes or the Tower. I cried and watched TV all day. In the afternoon, I walked over to the Cathedral with our dogs and met some nice out of town visitors. They were seeking comfort because a colleague of theirs had been on the flight that went into the Pentagon. It was so very sad. Still is. I have my unused 9-11 plane ticket somewhere in a box of keepsakes. After that day for awhile I was always given extra searches, pulled out of line and had bags searched. Even when 8 months pregnant! Maybe because I was flying on 9/11?”

Roll Call‘s Paul Singer: “I was the head of AP’s bureau in Cleveland — we were in our statewide morning news conference call when the second plane struck, and everybody just said ‘Well, OK, scrap everything else we were planning’ and hung up. Shortly thereafter we got an alert that there was a hijacked plane with a bomb aboard that was being forced to land at the Cleveland airport. Apparently flight 93 was on the same flight path as another plane headed west, and there was air traffic confusion as they passed into Ohio (the regional FAA station is in Oberlin). Flight 93 did a buttonhook and went down in Shanksville; the other plane was sent to land in Cleveland. The airport is about 15 miles out of town, but the mayor decided to evacuate downtown Cleveland. It’s a small city with a few major roads and bridges which all instantly became parking lots with panicked people trying to flee. The mayor held a press conference and I had to basically climb over cars to traverse the four blocks from the AP bureau to city hall. I had taken the Cleveland job in May and I am pretty sure that the ‘hijacked plane/bomb/evacuation’ series was my first experience filing an URGENT series for the AP; I had no idea what codes to use or what format. I had our veteran sportswriter standing behind me basically dictating to me while I hammered on the keyboard. It was very nearly Sept. 12 before I was finally at my neighborhood bar with a drink in my hand watching reruns of the collapsing towers over and over again, and wondering what we had just lived through.”

The Daily Caller‘s David Martosko: “I was on my way up I-395 on my way to work in DC, listening to the radio with my wife Susan — who had a dentist appointment downtown that morning, when Flight 11 hit the North tower. By the time we made it to my office, the Pentagon had just been struck. It took me two hours to get to my where Susan was, just 6 blocks away. She was waiting on the curb since the dentist’s building had been evacuated. We spent another four hours in the car trying to cross the 14th Street Bridge. Eventually, when the bridge was opened to (outgoing only) traffic, we made our way home. Along the way we offered to pick up several people who said they were too scared to go underground into the Metro tunnels. I learned later on that some of my co-workers had gotten home to Virginia much faster by abandoning their cars and walking. As luck would have it, I was due for a blood donation — I had been giving a pint every two months since high school, since my own life was saved by an emergency transfusion when I was very young. I stood in line that night at a Red Cross donor center in Arlington, along with dozens of others. Many were first-time blood donors.  There simply wasn’t much else we could do at that point. Susan and I had  several lunches and dinners at the Afghan restaurant on Route 1 in Alexandria, since the owners had (literally overnight) covered the building’s roof-eaves with red, white, and blue bunting. It was the first of many signs that our neighbors of Middle Eastern descent would suddenly have to work twice as hard to demonstrate their love of country, and that they would need our support. The only other thing I remember vividly about that day was holding on to Susan, and she to me, and wondering if World War III had just begun.

A special note of thanks to all who responded.

Summer Superlatives Winners, Part III

And the final four…

In a pool of sex machines like The Hill‘s Hugo Gurdon and Daily Caller’s Tucker Carlson it’s tough to imagine anyone winning FishbowlDC’s Sexiest Male of 2011 title by a landslide.  But believe it or not, the boyish good looks of Politico’s Patrick Reis clobbered the competition with over 50% of the popular vote.  Capitol Hill Ken Doll aka Kevin Madden came in a distant second with 16.3% of the vote.  Tucker Carlson, just shy of the silver, trailed Madden by only three votes.

The stress of the spotlight proved too much for Coral Davenport, Amy Harder and Olga Belogolova.  Citing migraines and lack of sleep, NJ’s Energy trio accidentally moved sexy forward when they should have been bringing it back.  The slip bumped them into second place while WUSA-9′s Kristin Fisher took gold and the title of Sexiest Female of 2011 with 38.5% of the vote.  In case you’re wondering, sultry senior seductress Helen Thomas finished third.

The title of Most Underrated went to Ryan Grim of the Huffington Post.  The rock-solid reporter earned 36.61% of the vote, pushing him ahead of Roll Call’s Paul Singer who snagged  a respectable 28.5% of the vote.

Winning by only a hair, Cabbage Patch lookalike and 2011′s Biggest Self-Promoter Matt Mackowiak upset Daily Caller’s Kurt Bardella and stole all the glory with 36.36% of the vote to Bardella’s 34.93%.  Ouch!

Congrats to Reis, Fisher, Grim and Mackowiak!   And there you have the FishbowlDC Class of 2011!

Summer Superlatives: Most Underrated

There’s certainly no shortage of over-hyped ass clowns in Washington’s media world.  But for each no-talent hack with press pass, there are dozens of rock-solid reporters whose talents fail to receive their due recognition.  That’s why FishbowlDC is honoring the District’s all-guts-and-no-glory journalists in our last category of superlatives: Most Underrated.  Each of our five finalists deserves some time in the spotlight but which one is the Most Underrated of 2011?  The nominees are… National Journal’s Sue Davis, CBS News’ Nancy Cordes, C-SPAN’s Steve Scully, Roll Call’s Paul Singer and Ryan Grim from the Huffington Post.  Vote it up!

Separated at Birth: HuffPost’s Ryan Grim

This morning we match HuffPost‘s Washington Bureau Chief Ryan Grim and a couple of different characters. We see in him a lot of actor David William Harper, who played the part of Jim-Bob Walton on “The Waltons,.” We also detect more than a smidgen of the late Rep. Gerry Studds (D-Mass.). Don’t get us wrong, this is not meant to be a grim commentary on the journalist. We believe Grim to be a fine, upstanding American citizen. Studds, however, made headlines in in 1983 when he admitted to a relationship with a male page. He became the first openly gay member of Congress. The House censured him. Still, he was reelected and stayed in Congress until he retired in 1997.

Good Morning FishbowlDC Readers

QUOTES of the DAY


Ezra’s aha moments

“The hardest part of any article is the first paragraph.”– WaPo‘s Ezra Klein in a weekend tweet. Or his confessional: “Working relaxes me on Sundays and stresses me out on Mondays. There must be something I can learn from Sundays.”

The Power of Positive Thinking

“It’s always sunny at Politico.” — Politico‘s Mike Allen on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” Monday, which airs live from London this week.

Levi Johnston headlines: Who did it better?

“DC media, microcosm edition. WaPo: ‘Levi Johnston to ‘set record straight’ in memoir.’ Politico Click: ‘BABY DADDY INKS BOOK DEAL.’”– Neiman Lab’s Megan Garber.

A DC Journo’s Dreams and Nightmares

“Had a dream last night that Tammy and Mikey were getting married at Westminster Abbey. I was best man. #worldscolliding” — DC Journo in a Monday tweet referring to D.C.’s PR grande dame Tammy Haddad and Politico‘s Allen. He (or she) went on, “Also had a nightmare that I didn’t get invited to #nerdprom. Woke up and invite was under my pillow where I always keep it.”

Come on WaPo, get it together

WaPo guy didn’t deliver my paper for the second day in a row. Will have to wait till tomorrow to find out what happened yesterday.” — HuffPost‘s Ryan Grim in a Sunday tweet.

In retrospect…

“Barbour should have hung on for another week, since Newsweek is out with a piece on his candidacy today.” — The Daily Beast’s Washington Bureau Chief Howard Kurtz in a Monday tweet referring to Haley Barbour’s announcement that he won’t run for president.

Ed Schultz reveals true feelings for Sen. Sanders

MSNBC’s Ed Schultz didn’t beat around the bush Monday night. He just came right out with it. “Joining me now my favorite senator. Independent from Vermont. Bernie Sanders.” To a beaming Sanders he continued, “I’ve never said you were my favorite senator on this program before, or when I was doing the 6 o’clock, but you are and I want to announce that tonight. You are my favorite senator because you stand up to what is wrong with this country, and you always have a solution on what we need to do to make things better for the middle class and I respect that.”

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