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The FishbowlDC Interview With TPM’s Evan McMorris-Santoro

Working with TPM‘s Evan McMorris-Santoro this week has been a trying but endearing experience. Nailing down a deadline for Evan is much like trying to force feed apple strudel to FishbowlMatt: Not appetizing. He told me, “Sorry — you now officially know what it’s like to be any of my editors.” But in the end he came through with flying colors and sometimes that’s all that matters. Born and raised in Chapel Hill, NC, McMorris-Santoro has covered politics for TPM since 2009. Before that, he was a reporter at NJ‘s “The Hotline” covering the 2008 election. He started his career covering local politics at newspapers in Tennessee and his native North Carolina. I asked him to tell me something weird about his childhood. His reply: “I went to Space Camp. Or maybe that’s not so weird.” Evan, while we only wish that you told us Slate‘s Dave Weigel was your bunkmate at Space Camp, this more than suffices.

If you were a carbonated beverage which would you be? Bourbon and soda

How often do you Google yourself? Who still Googles himself? With a name like mine, those Google Alerts catch everything.

What’s the worst thing you’ve ever said to an editor (or vice versa)? Same answer for both: ‘The browser crashed and I lost it.’

Who is your favorite working journalist and why? Blatant attempt at a raise alert: I have to shoutout all my colleagues at TPM. They’re some of the hardest-working and smartest in the biz, and I appear better than I am because my work shares the page with theirs. Also ex-TPMer Christina Bellantoni, who taught me everything I need to know about finding food on the road.

Do you have a favorite word? You can’t work with Brian Beutler for two years without developing a healthy respect/fear for “fail.”

What word or phrase do you overuse? “It’s worth noting…” It’s worth noting that, although contextualizing things is a noble goal, I need to find a better way to start those sentences.

Who would you rather have dinner with – ABC’s Christiane Amanpour, CNN’s Candy Crowley or NBC’s Andrea Mitchell? Tell us why. Amanpour, because like all DC political reporters, I don’t know enough about world affairs and I secretly wish I was a war corespondent.

You are ordered to go on a road trip to an undisclosed location. You can go with White House Spokesman Jay Carney or Bo, the President’s Portuguese Water Dog. No ones feelings will be hurt. Who do you take? Comes down to which one is paper-trained.

What’s the name of your cell phone ring? ‘Standard.’

It’s 3 a.m. and you get up to use the bathroom or get a drink of water. Do you check your BlackBerry? It’s a Droid thank you very much and yes, definitely.

Whats your favorite swear word? Oh fuck.

Find out what Evan eats when he pigs out…
What word do you routinely misspell? It’s/Its

If you weren’t a journalist what would you be? Car salesman

You’ve just been told the big news: You get to have your own Sunday morning talk show. Who will be on your roundtable? (Pick four journalists or pundits types.) Tom Morello, Bono, Ted Nugent, Krista Branch

When you pig out what do you eat? Dried/cured meats of any kind

If you could influence journalism in one way right now what would it be? The more screaming your headline, the better

When did you last cry and why? When I ran out of dried/cured meats

What TV show is your guilty pleasure? 6-hour couch marathon of the Barrett-Jackson classic car auction.

What is the best vacation you’ve ever taken? Riding around on a Gator with my future uncle-in-law looking at oil rigs in Colby, KS with a Keystone Light tallboy in the cup holder.

What is your absolute favorite item of clothing in your closet? We want the fabric, the brand, the store and the price if possible. It’s a big mess of Jos. A Bank sale items and Target in there. Take your pick.

Pick one: Joy Behar, Barbara Walters, Whoopi Goldberg or Elizabeth Hasselbeck? Whoopi

Do you read your astrology? No

Have you ever had a near-death experience? When Betsy emailed and asked why the hell my interview wasn’t done.

Ever been arrested? No, but I have wriggled out of hefty speeding tickets in 3 states. Wait, that’s not actually the same in any way.

Tell us a secret not many people know about you. I actually made up the hyphenated name to confuse everybody. I was born John Smith.

What scares you? Alphabetical-order lists, name tags, last-name fields on forms.

Who is your mentor? Everything I know about how DC works I learned from Amy Walter.

What and where was your first job in journalism? County commission meetings and movie reviews at the Moore County Independent in Carthage, NC.

What’s your most embarrassing career moment? See the answer above about favorite word.

Have you ever been fired? Of course.

When and why did you last laugh so hard you had tears in your eyes? Herman Cain’s ‘Yellow Flowers’ video.

When and why did you last lose your temper? The last time I saw an injustice done to someone powerless. That or when I couldn’t find a parking space near the Passenger.

Which movie title best describes your journalism career? “Being There.”

Who would you want to play you in a movie? People have told me I look like a.) Brendan Fraser b.) that guy from Spiderman or c.) Oliver Platt. So maybe all three of them like in that Dylan movie ‘I’m Not There.’

Name jobs you’ve had outside of journalism. (Can start as young as teenage years): Paperboy, movie concessions, swimming pool concessions, ad sales, start-up Internet company.

Do you have a me-wall? If so, who’s on it? My fiance Jenny recently got me a framed copy of my first magazine article for my 30th birthday, but we have a 1-bedroom so I have nowhere to hang it.

Who should just call it a day? See ‘favorite word’ answer. (Note to readers: Involves Brian Beutler)

From TMZ Founder Harvey Levin: You are about to be served your last meal. What will it be? My parents’ Thanksgiving turkey.

Finally, please come up for a question for our next FishbowlDC interviewee. Make it good. When was the last time you really took stock and said “good lord, someone actually pays me to do this?”

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