You grew up in Michigan and Missouri, both of which are currently up for grabs.
I’m a swing-state gal. Ms. Battleground. I’m also pretty midwestern in my outlook. I grew up in a family that regularly hunted. But when you get to newsrooms on the East Coast, you hear a lot of arguments: “This gun thing—I don’t get it.” Well, I do get it. I don’t necessarily look at guns and think evil.
What’s the most honest moment you’ve seen this campaign season?
The Dean scream. His aides said to him, “Go out there and rev these guys up, because they’re really disappointed.” I think it was an honest attempt to get the audience to feel good. He just forgot that the rest of the audience was on the other side of the television camera.
And what about the conventions? I suspect there are moments of honesty there too.
Absolutely! When you’re on the floor and you look at the delegates—there are honest moments for them. The props don’t believe they are props. They believe they’re there as part of democracy.
On Election Night 2000, when CNN called Florida for Al Gore, Karl Rove screamed, “Get me Candy Crowley!” Did you feel his wrath?
I did. But I don’t take it personally. I watch these people pour their heart, soul, time—everything—into this two-year effort. Any little thing in a race that close makes a difference.
Did you go to the Kerrys’ farm when they invited the press corps?
No, but I was there for VP day. The idea that we’d get an idea of who John Kerry is from an off-the-record hangout with him is ridiculous. And I don’t mean just Kerry; Bush also had us to Crawford and that kind of thing. There’s this physics principle that an experiment watched is an experiment changed. Wherever we are, the candidate is, and the candidate is a different person because of it.
Who’d win in a game of beach volleyball, the Bush daughters or the Kerrys?
The Bushes. I always go for youth in any of those sports. Although the Kerry girls are taller!