ing the Heard On The Hill column left
and I was offered the job. Then, within
a couple of months, the editor and the
managing editor left. At the age of 26,
I went into the publisher’s office and
said, ‘I want to be the editor.’ She kinda
laughed because I had only been there a
couple of years. A couple of days later,
she said that she didn’t think I was ready
to be the editor, but she offered me the
No. 2 job on an acting basis. After a couple of weeks, I had the job full time.
It’s still a big jump from No. 2 at Roll
Call to White House correspondent at
CNN. How did that happen?
I was reading a story in November or
December of ’ 97 that President Clinton
was worried about his legacy and that
the State of the Union speech in Janu-
ary was going to give him a chance to lay
out his priorities. Roll Call had started
in 1955 and had never interviewed a
president. So I sent a handwritten note
to [White House Press Secretary] Mike
McCurry, guaranteeing that almost
every member of Congress would read
the interview. I didn’t think I’d get a
response, but he sent me a handwrit-
ten note saying it was a great idea. My
exclusive print interview was set on the
same day that the president would give
an exclusive radio interview to NPR and
an exclusive TV interview to Jim Lehrer.
Everyone at Roll Call was blown away.
But it turned out that was a very important day, right?
The night before the interview, I got a
call from Amy Weiss, a junior White
House press person, saying that they
wanted to cut it from 45 minutes in
the Oval Office to 20 minutes over the
phone. I said, ‘Interview a president over
the phone? It just doesn’t work. You don’t
see the body language.’ She said, ‘Some-
thing’s come up. Let’s talk in the morn-
ing.’ The next morning, I went out to
my doorstep in Bethesda and there was
The Washington Post with the headline
that said, ‘Clinton Had Sex With Intern,
May Lead To Impeachment.’ I rushed to
the office and called the White House.
When McCurry finally called back, he
said the interview was on. [Clinton] did
Lehrer first and said, ‘The relationship
is not sexual.’ When I saw it on the AP
wire, I said, ‘He’s denying it,’ but some-
one else pointed out that he was using
the present tense. So during my inter-
view, I asked it again and Clinton said,
‘The relationship was not sexual.’ He
changed the tense. I always tell people
that my legacy is secure because he lied
to me first. That scoop got me on TV
a little bit. Then CNN came calling [in
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