“It doesn’t feel fast to me,” Bolduan says in response to that very suggestion. “I’m not bragging, but I feel like I’ve earned the jobs I’ve received. I don’t think people are doing me favors. You’ve got to be able to do the job.”
She adds: “I’m not trying to diminish any of my amazing colleagues and this is a high-stress job, but it’s not rocket science. . . . You get the facts, you know how to talk, [you] just go do it.”
There’s been only one small stumble along her gilded path. During a live stand-up outside the Supreme Court last June, Bolduan reported that the court had struck down the individual mandate in President Obama’s health-care overhaul, prompting Blitzer to announce the law’s demise. Bolduan was partially accurate but entirely wrong; the court said the mandate was unconstitutional under the Commerce Clause, but the full opinion upheld it as a tax, thus leaving the law in place. CNN corrected the report minutes later.
To her credit, Bolduan owns the mistake. “I learned a lot of lessons from that,” she says frankly. “No matter what, I’m the face of whatever information goes out there. I’m happy to talk about it. You don’t get into this business and you do not take on this job I’ve taken on and not have on your big-girl pants.”
Also to her credit is what Bolduan doesn’t say: that the mistake arguably wasn’t her own. Bolduan had relied on the word of a producer stationed inside the courthouse; he relayed the decision to her almost as it was released, based on a hasty reading of the court’s lengthy and complicated decision.
“It’s a team effort,” she says. “And everything I’ve done on TV, every success I’ve had on TV, is because it’s not a solo act. You win as a team, and you fail as a team. And if you can’t remember that, you’re not part of the team.”
Bolduan grew up in Goshen, Ind., a small (population 31, 719) manufacturing town in the northern part of the state. Her father, Jeff Bolduan, is a surgeon and her mother, Nadine, is a former nurse. The third of four girls, she was a cheerleader, dancer and athlete (she played on GWU’s volleyball team her freshman year). She edited her high school paper, performed onstage and was named Goshen’s Junior Miss in 2000, singing show tunes in the talent portion of the competition. Her biggest disappointment, she jokes — at least it seems like a joke — is that she lost out as high-school valedictorian (she was the salutatorian).