Martha Raddatz is ABC News’ Chief White House correspondent. She joined the network in 1999 as State Department reporter, later becoming senior national security correspondent. Raddatz has reported extensively from Iraq and Afghanistan, and is the author of 2007′s The Long Road Home: A Story of War and Family. The Utah native previously worked for Boston’s WCVB-TV and for National Public Radio.
1. TVNewser: If American civilians were able to go to Iraq and witness the war firsthand, they’d most be surprised by…
Raddatz: How graphic, stark and sudden the violence can be — and how quickly life returns to normal for the times in between. There are days in Iraq, it is hard to imagine there is a war going on — and then days where the war and the violence overwhelm you. The losses suffered there are beyond comprehension to most people.
But then, after a day in the field or a night on the sand, you see the most spectacular sunrise or sunset — really beyond description — and feel nothing but hope.
2. TVNewser: The best — and most difficult — aspects of being ABC News’ Chief White House correspondent:
Raddatz: The best is knowing that every day you are witnessing history. The press conferences are high stakes, and adrenalin pumping. And I feel like I learn something new all the time.
The worst? The work space there is so confining — and so lacking in privacy, that I get out of there as often as possible. And not having any control over your own schedule is maddening.
3. TVNewser: Reporting as a military embed has taught me…
Raddatz: I have learned the meaning of courage and sacrifice. What our troops are doing in Iraq and Afghanistan — and the amount of time they have been doing itâ€”is remarkable. I can leave those embeds anytime I want. They do it day after day…about 455 days for each deployment now.
And this is not all about shooting and hunting down bad guys. To see the troops out there trying to rebuild cities, solve problems and involve the local communities and local leaders is inspiring. I have also learned a whole lot of great new swear words and where to find the “ladies room” in the middle of a desert.
4. TVNewser: If someone had told me as a teenager I’d become ABC News’ White House correspondent and travel to Iraq during wartime…
Raddatz: I was one of those teenagers who had no idea where I would end up or really how to even try to get there. But I knew I needed adventure, that I wanted to do something that mattered and I knew I wanted to get out of Utah.
5. TVNewser: As a Utah native, life on the East Coast is:
Raddatz: When I left Utah and moved to Boston in my 20′s I felt instantly at home…it was a feeling of having been born and raised in entirely the wrong place. Something I always felt growing up. I love the pace of the East, and the excitement, and how things constantly change.
But the West is a fabulous place to visit. In fact we go at least once a year to Big Sur, California, to hike and read and try to forget about the frantic pace in the East. But after a week, I am usually ready to get back to DC!