Thought I was a "writer" in high school. Got involved in college journalism, for a magazine instead of the school paper. Then fell into studying Russian and the Soviet Union in college and decided I wanted to go to Moscow as a reporter. Graduated in 1987 -- perfect timing.
Out of everything you've covered, what's been your favorite story?
The collapse of the Soviet Union. My entire three years in Moscow, from 1990-1993, bifurcated by the failed coup of August 1991. Every day was a journalist's dream.
What's the best thing about your job?/What's the worst thing about your job?
Best: getting paid to talk to people, read a lot and then write about it all. Worst: realization that your story is next week's fish wrap. (Does anyone wrap fish in newsprint anymore?)
Does Bush have a nickname for you?
Jay-boy during the campaign. More recently Carni (pronounced Car-neye).
What did you do to pass the time during Campaign 2000?
Hang out, eat and drink with the Bush Press Bubble -- a great group of folks.
What's your most embarrassing on-the-job moment? (Or as embarrassing as you'd like to reveal?)
So many to choose from. I actually was the anchor for a pilot episode of a Hotline television show about six or seven years ago. I was appalling at it. Another time, in 1990 or '91, I was having an ear piece put in when I was in Moscow and overheard Robin MacNeil or Jim Lehrer say, incredulously, "How old is this guy, 15?"
Do you have a prediction for the WH 2004 matchup?
McCain-Gore. (Despite solid approval ratings, Bush decides not to run for re-election, takes MLB commissioner job instead).
And finally, we're ending this feature with a question posed by the last interviewee. This one's from Newsweek's Howard Fineman. Is there a political TV show you would refuse to do? If so, which one?
Given some of the shows I have done already, I don't think anyone would believe me if I drew the line now.
Now you can pose your own question to the next person we interview: We'd like to give you the chance to pose a question -- any question -- to the next interviewee. Be as nice, or as mean, as you wish.
The dirty little secret about appearing on political talk shows is ....?