Andrea Mitchell, 71, had to borrow “TV clothes” from another newswoman the first time she reported on television. She lives with husband Alan Greenspan in Washington.
What makes a great interview? No pressure.
I think the best interviews are when you really listen to the answers. It’s something I learned from Tim Russert. He said, “Always listen in between the seams of someone’s answer.”
Forty years in television news! How did you make that happen?
It doesn’t seem like a long career, like decades of reporting, because you always get excited about the next story on the horizon.
In 2005 you were dragged out of a press conference by security for asking the Sudanese president about genocide. Is that the awesomest and most badass thing you’ve ever done?
There was a moment where I was literally carried out of a similar photo opportunity with Bashar al-Assad’s father [Hafez al-Assad].
You were carried?
Carried by his security officers. It was a photo opportunity with Bill Clinton, 1993, I think, in Damascus at the presidential palace. I was asking a question about his support for terrorists. The frustrating thing was they started carrying me out —
How did they pick you up?
Under the arms. Two big guys came up and picked me up and carried me out. My feet were dangling. I didn’t want to louse up the photo opportunity because it was the only chance to get the picture we all wanted, Clinton and Assad. So I didn’t say anything because I didn’t want my protests to interfere with the moment for the pool.
So you’re silent as they’re picking you up.
And I’m watching Bill Clinton, who looked, I have to say, amused. Because he’d had enough, I’m sure, of all of our questions at photo opportunities.
I hear you bring a box [to stand on] to scrums so people will see you first.
The really perilous thing is if you’re on the rope line and you’re covering the presidential campaign — with the [Hillary] Clinton campaign for months at a time it was the only way to really talk to her — sometimes you’d be ducking under barriers and standing on folding chairs. Folding chairs are very dangerous. They collapse. So you have to develop a strategy. We have these camera boxes, light boxes. Packing boxes that we travel with. I’m short.
I’ll write that down.
I feel like I am a tall person. In my next incarnation I will be a tall person. But I’m 5-3. I can’t peer over the camera, but I can crawl under.
Is there anything you don’t want me to ask about?
Eating, sleeping habits. I’m a bad influence on anyone who cares about a healthy life. It’s always awkward when someone asks about my personal time, because none of us have a life since the beginning of the 2016 campaign.
What is Alan Greenspan’s most annoying personal habit?
Talking about differential equations when I want to talk about food and fashion.