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Sunday, June 7, 2009

Candy Crowley Q & A

We recently did a question and answer session at out sister blog, All Things Anderson, with Candy Crowley. I thought it warranted a posting at ATC too. Enjoy!

Since you all took the time to put in some questions, I wanted to answer all of them. I put your name at the top of each answer, so you can avoid reading the entire thing and just scroll down to your name. And thanks for asking. - Candy Crowley

Phebe: First, I’d like to say thank you for taking the time to answer our questions. Those of us who write for the blog, and our readers, are great admirers or yours. Let me lead off the questions with one we ask all of our participants. It’s a great way to get to know the person behind the TV personality. Could you tell us a little about your hobbies, favorite authors, favorite episodic television, things in your life that you are the most proud of, etc? Also what’s on your iPod and what's in your Netflix queue?

Hobbies: I love to swim alone and play bridge (not at the same time). The number of bridge players has dwindled so I don’t play much now, but I do swim daily.

Authors: I could chew up cyberspace on this. I would have to start with William Faulkner. I thought As I Lay Dying was brilliant. Saul Bellow: Herzog and Humboldt’s Gift. Truman Capote: In Cold Blood was chilling. I’m currently reading Go Down Together: The True Untold Story of Bonnie and Clyde by Jeff Guinn. Yes, I am drawn to stories about the darker side of human nature and the human struggle.

TV Series: In Treatment, Nip Tuck, Big Love,

Hands down, I am proudest of my children.

IPOD: Vinyette (my son’s band), Cat Power, Snow Patrol, Ray Charles, Neil Young

Netflix: I’ve Loved You So Long, Tell No One, 3:10 to Yuma, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, The Lives of Others

ACAnderFan: Candy, what is it like to be on the road all year during an election season? What do you miss the most about home?

The road can be really fun (sometimes we laugh so hard at the absurdity of the life style). I’m privileged to be able to watch ground level democracy and get to know the people who might become president. But, it is physically brutal (sometimes I am very cranky). You take planes, trains and automobiles; fly from one end of the country to another or drive across Iowa, New Hampshire, Ohio, etc. You are carrying 40-50 lbs worth of equipment, a 25 pound purse and dragging a suitcase. I am totally covered in bruises during election years. There were more times than I’d like to remember when we got to the hotel after midnight and had leave by 4:30 or 5 the next morning. Oh, and we cover things and file stories. Every once in a while my producers and I would look at each other and say, “I wanna be a normal person.”

Tedi B: Candy, I wanted to let you know that I really enjoy your stories and your take on things! Do you find it hard to "hide" your feelings or opinions when you are interviewing someone you totally disagree with? How do you deal with it?

My Dad always used to say, “Never criticize a man unless you’ve walked a mile in his shoes”. It’s how I approach my interviews. The interviewee has something to say, born of experiences I haven’t had. I am so curious to know what they think that my opinions just don’t pop into my head. No interview is about me or what I think.

Snooks: Candy,Have you ever experienced discrimination being a woman in the journalism field particularly early in her career – also how did you choose journalism and how did you got started?

Absolutely I’ve experienced discrimination in my career and watched it happen around me as well. At my first place of work, the general manager told me that audiences would never accept a woman’s voice as the voice of authority. I’m not kidding ,and it wasn’t even the Dark Ages. I kicked around Washington for a while after college doing temp jobs but eventually got into news as a gopher at a small radio station in Washington, DC. I know this doesn’t qualify as “the vision thing”, but I needed a paycheck. I always wanted to be a writer. I wanted to write the Great American Novel. I also needed to pay rent, eat and all those other things. Then I had children and was a single Mom. I fell in love with journalism after the fact.

Book Asylum: How did the opportunity to talk to President Bush in the oval office at the end of his term come about? I believe you covered President Bush's 2000 campaign, what difference could you see in the President from then and now?

I pitched the White House for an “exit” interview with then President Bush. I “knew him when”. I first met him when I was covering the campaign of Bob Dole and we went to Texas a lot because they could turn out a crowd in what remains a pretty Republican state. I then covered him during his second campaign for Governor, followed quickly by his 2000 Presidential campaign. I used to interview him all the time, so I pitched this interview as a kind of “full circle” event.

He was a very different man in some ways, but the same in others. He seemed glad to see a familiar face and we talked a bit about the “old days”. He was not nostalgic particularly. He seemed genuinely to be looking forward to going home to Texas. He is a very energetic “up” person, but he looked incredibly tired perhaps because of the non-stop good-byes that consumed the final weeks.

His feelings about his family and the loyalists around him were as deep as ever and his sense of humor was in tact, but there was a melancholy about the former President that I had never seen. That was the most striking to me

Claire: If you could do an hour special on CNN what subject would you choose?

Two of them.

I think we need an hour on Afghanistan: what’s the mission? What will it take? What’s it like over there? How do they feel about us? Are we prepared to fight in the mountains with people who have been living there for decades? Why can we succeed when so many countries before us have not?

I have also always wanted to do an hour on mental health: advances for schizophrenics, what’s new in the treatment of depression, the status of mental hospitals. But mostly I am gripped by the images I see on the streets of almost any big city. I used to work for the Associated Press and there was a Mark Twain quote often cited, “There are only two forces that can carry light to all the corners of the globe, the sun in the heavens and the Associated Press down here.” I want to carry light to American streets. I’m off my soap box now.

Maren: Candy, All Things Anderson, as you know, is devoted to Anderson Cooper and to AC360 in general. If you had only three words to describe Anderson, which 3 would they be? (Expanding into why would be nice too).

Anderson is focused, watchful and quick. I think you have probably see evidence of the latter on air. I’m not sure how to explain the others; he just IS all those things. So because I can’t quite answer part of your question, here are three more: he sees the silliness in things, is always a gentleman and has been a supportive friend.

Kitzel: Is it an advantage or a disadvantage to be persistent, as Ed Henry was in questioning the President, any President, not only this one? Aren't you limiting access if you are rebuffed as Ed Henry was? Is it a "catch 22"?

No good journalist asks a question or doesn’t ask a question based on how it will impact access. I can guarantee you Ed never gave it a moment’s thought. I’ve had plenty of people angry with me, threaten to never arrange another interview, call my bureau chief, etc. All of them eventually cooled off. They understand our job. We understand theirs.

Em: I remember hearing your son is in a band. Can you tell us a bit more about your children and how you have managed to balance being a mother with your very successful career as a correspondent?

My oldest child is a neurosurgeon and just married a rheumatologist (and soon I will learn to spell that). They are headed to New Zealand at the end of the month to practice there for a year. (do NOT get me started) . My youngest son is the one in the band (Vinyette ) in New York. They just put out their first CD and had a great turnout at a New York venue. I have two step children who I love and adore. My daughter still dabbles at being a news producer, but she is mostly a Mom these days .Her brother lives way too far away in Kansas with his three children.

I tell people that balancing career and children is not a daily act. It’s a minute-to-minute act. When the kids were young, they would inevitably call the bureau when I was crashing to get a story on air. These were known as “Crowley Kid Calls.” At deadline time, I asked whoever answered the phone to give the kids the “three B” test: Is anything broken, burning or bleeding? And if not, I’ll call right back. One day the oldest said “BLEEDING” and I was home in 15 minutes and at the hospital in 30.

I think no matter what, parents end up wishing they had done some things differently, been there at times they weren’t, regret things they did or didn’t do. Then I look at my grown up children and they take my breath away. They are jaw-droppingly wonderful , warm, talented human beings and they love me and seem to want to be around me. Maybe I didn’t do everything wrong.

Quitty: You are on the road a lot. What is a must-have in your suitcase when you travel on assignment?

If you won’t tell anyone, I’ll answer. I never travel without my silk sleeping bag with pillow cover. It folds into a case about the size of a mini-umbrella. I remove the blankets and sheets in hotel rooms and use the sleeping bag. This started years ago, way before we found out there’s an outbreak of bed bugs. I hope nobody reading this owns a hotel.

Bridget Ann: With the 2008 Presidential campaign, you were on the campaign trail for an extended period of time. How did you stay energized and not get burned out?

I think there is a natural adrenalin or serotonin boost journalists get when they cover a story. Covering the campaign is like reading a really good novel. You can’t wait to see what happens next. Still, everybody gets burned out. There were times I was so tired I would wake up and cry. When it got that bad, I either holed up in a hotel in Chicago for a couple of days or went home for the weekend.

Maryanne: Do you have any memorable on-camera moments that didn’t go as planned?

Here is a secret: almost nothing ever goes the way you planned on live TV. There was the day I was interviewing then Senator Howard Metzenbaum (from Ohio). We were outside and it was really windy and the light fell over on him. He ducked so quickly that all you saw on the TV screen was Howard Metzenbaum and then no Howard Metzenbaum. Just a blank screen. (no one was hurt while filming that story).

Routinely during the 2000 Bush campaign, I would throw back to Wolf Blitzer and call him “Bush.” I’ve called John Roberts -Anderson and Lou Dobbs -Wolf. I once turned to interview someone I had set up for a live shot and they were gone. Finishing up a liveshot from New Hampshire (in the snow) , I kind of shifted my feet and fell backwards off a small wall I didn’t know was there. My producer and I started laughing so hard I couldn’t get up to tell the anchor I was ok.

Cyn: We miss your posts on the 360 Blog. Why do you blog so infrequently these days?

I love doing those blogs and I love hearing from you all (ok MOST of you) but in a thousand different ways I am a perfectionist. There were so many things to write about and share with you on the campaign, but since it ended, I have felt as though whatever I would write would be subpar. I have tried to start them so many times and end up feeling as though they aren’t any good, so I stop. I believe the technical word for this may be writer’s block. I will try harder, really because the AC360 people are always after me to write.

Pati Mac: I am a jewelry person and I love unique pieces. I would like to know more about your vast collection of amazing necklaces and hear a story or two on where they were collected. Do any hold special meaning? Do you have a favorite, and if so why?

When the kids were young I think they had trouble seeing the person on TV and relating it to their Mom at home. (Particularly when I was on TV and at home at the same time) . One of them made me a clay necklace at school. I wore it on air and he got so excited to see “his necklace” on TV. I still have it. So they all started to give me necklaces (some of them homemade, some purchased with the help of their Dad) and they just got such a kick out of it.

Over the years it snowballed, parents, brothers, friends, and my nieces who call me and say “Aunt Candy, you had on my necklace today”. My producers give me necklaces for Christmas.

They have come from everywhere -- 2nd great art class to Puerto Rico. The collection includes the “diamond” necklace my (5-year-old) grandson got me at the store “5 Below” and a blue jade necklace from Tiffany’s my Mom gave me. I could not for a minute pick out a favorite. Literally, every time I put one on, I think of who gave it to me and it makes me happy. BTW, my children still give me necklaces, still notice when I wear them and they have great taste.

Kristien: When can we expect a book full of Candy wit?

I would so love to write a book. I have at least 4 that I have plotted in my head. Whether I have the attention span to do it is another question. Soon, I hope soon.

J in La: Dear Candy: When you are a participant on a panel and asked a question, how do you determine the boundary you will set in terms of conveying your answer with analysis and context without it straying into commentary and opinion. If you have been so immersed in a subject for so long, how do you convey to the viewer what you are saying is analysis of a situation rather than your experience or opinion as that is not a line I would assume you would want to cross as a journalist. And as a follow-up do you find it hard as a journalist to be a part of these panels where opinion can be mixed easily with analysis when you can be paired with "pundits" and not just with other journalists who may not have your standards?

The advent of panels mixing journalists, commentators and analysts is a real challenge: for the viewer who can be confused about the roles, and for journalists on those panels who do not want to cross the line into commentary. Nothing means more to me than someone saying, “I can’t tell where you stand” or “I think you’re fair”. So I want to protect that. I’ve been a reporter for a long time and it’s put an automatic “edit” in my head that I hope keeps me from giving my opinion. It helps that the more I know about an issue, the more I see gray, not black and white.

M in Oregon: With the plethora of social networking sites, i.e. Facebook, Twitter, My Space, pod casts, etc., exploding are there any you find useful in your reporting?

Speaking of challenges, wow, the internet has added several more hours to the day. Some blogs and a lot of websites have become must-reads to weigh what the right, the left and the middle are saying about a particular issue. Facebook, Twitter and My Space are increasingly places to gather up some news because so many politicians and newsmakers are using them. But, I tell ya, it’s very hard to keep up.

Viewer in Virginia: What do you like most about broadcast journalism, as opposed to print journalism, and why? Also where did you go to college and what was your major?

I have been a print reporter, a radio reporter and a TV reporter. The jobs were far more alike than different. Print, radio and TV are not journalism; they are venues through which you put your journalism. And journalism is journalism.

When the pictures work with the words, there is no more powerful way to tell a story than on television. Radio is more intimate and not yoked to the need to have pictures, but for purity of the craft, it’s print. It’s you, a pad and pencil and a telephone. 99 percent of the time people will go much farther in a phone interview or over a cup of coffee than they will when you turn the camera on. The camera simply changes things.

I went to Randolph Macon Women’s College. Majored in English and Economics.

Penny: What is the best part of your job and what is the worst?

The best part of my job is the people I meet, interview, and almost always learn from, whether it’s The President of The United States or a homeless man on the streets of Washington, DC. It is not so much that I learn facts from them, but that I learn about life, about people, about the infinite ways to look at things. It’s amazing. The worst part is worrying about hair and makeup. In my next life, I’m still going to be a journalist, but a male journalist.

Dutch: Out of all the stories you've covered which one has been the most emotional, and why?

Many stories move me for many reasons. Here are two.

The streets of New York after 9-11. There was unrelenting and overwhelming sadness in the crowds of people milling around on the streets, telling stories and putting up posters, “looking” for their daughter, son, brother, mom, dad who had been in the Twin Towers. It was all but unbearable to watch and report because both towers had come down so what you heard in story after story was desperate hope. I held it together the whole time I was at work, but I would get back to the hotel, turn on the shower to the hottest water I could get, then got in and sobbed. I felt like I had grief in my pores.

I also did a series of stories leading up to the Gulf War trying to understand what all these young military troops would go through. I talked with Representative Duke Cunningham, Rep., Charlie Rangel, then Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge, former Senator Bob Dole, Senator Daniel Inouye and Senator Chuck Hagel. All served in combat in three different wars. Most were wounded. Most were awarded medals for valor. I asked: what were you thinking the night before you went into battle? Who did you think about? What was combat like the first time? What was it like to kill someone? What lingers with you now? I was blown away by their still raw emotions and by their honest. Several of them cried (almost always when I asked about having to kill the enemy). Almost all the answers from these tough veterans and seasoned politicians were poetry.

Sapphire: What was the turning point in the Presidential election on the Democrat and Republican side, or was there one?

In the primary season, his Iowa victory was the turning point for candidate Obama. It proved a black man could win in a nearly all-white state (especially important for black voters who at the time were mostly behind Senator Clinton) It also destroyed the idea that candidate Clinton was “inevitable”. What clinched it was that the Obama campaign prepared for the long haul and put people or systems in place in every state for every primary. The Clinton people basically thought it would be over by Super Tuesday (early February) and simply were not as well positioned for a lengthy 50 state primary.

In the general election, John McCain had so many headwinds I question if there was anything he could have done to win. If there was, it disappeared the day he said “the fundamentals of the economy are strong.” I had many economists tell me at the time that the statement was technically correct. Politically it was a disaster. It enabled the Obama campaign to hammer McCain as out of touch. People were hurting last fall and the economy didn’t feel strong to them, fundamentally or otherwise.

Can’t believe there is anyone left reading at this point but thank you all for asking me into your forum. ~ Candy

Candy Crowley is as modest as she is talented. I not only read every one of Candy's interesting answers, but reread them several times. This has to be my favorite Q & A to date, I'm just such a huge fan. Thank you so much Ms. Crowley. ~Phebe

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Politicaljunkie2 said...

I just heard that Monica Crowley,the conservative political analyst on Fox Cable News is also Candy Crowley's daughter,who is also sister to Dr. Jocelyn Crowley(sister to Alan Colmes of formerly Hannity and Colmes)however she didn't mention them in jer blog where she mentions her children. Is it just a coincidence of the same surname?

BookAsylum said...

@PoliticalJunkie2- I think it is just a coincidence.

Anonymous said...

I was lucky to meet Candy at the Republican Convention in Houston in '92. I recognized her from TV as she rubbed her sore, tired feet on Thursday of the long convention week. We chatted a bit and now I see her on TV just about every day. Though not a George Bush fan the convention was a blast and I did not want it to end with all the excitement and celebrities everywhere like Candy.

Anonymous said...

I must admit you're looking great these days, but please stay the same in every other way. I always relax and listen when you come on as I don't feel I have to listen for your personal opinions the way I do with others.

Linda Keiser Mardis said...

I am in total awe of whatever beauty makeover you have been participating in. You look just stunning. You are now an inspiration in that respect in addition to all the other ways you inspire accomplished women. I wish you had a regular show so that I could be certain of hearing and watching your meaningful perspectives every day.

Anonymous said...

36 year old male from Houston, and I must say, Candy is looking quite attractive these days. I had her pegged as way younger than it turns out she actually is.

I saw on the news today commenting on the Sotomayor confirmation hearings - looking gorgeous of course!

Anonymous said...

Ms. Crowley: Thank you so much for sharing with us your amazing experiences. And I tooo would love to see you with a daily show. I so much have been wanting to post a complement somewhere in admiration reagarding this makeover/transformation we have been witnessing in you in recent months. You have truly kept the "bloom on the rose". Thank you for the inspiration!

Anonymous said...

Took me forever to find a place to leave you a comment: You have been one of my favorite reporters for ages and I have so much respect for the job you do so well. Also I have to say you are looking absolutely marvelous...keep it look great!!

Freda said...

Always a pleasure to watch your reports. I must say that your looking fabulous, what's that wonderful shade of lipstick (7-29-09)
Bishop, CA

Katy said...

Candy, I went looking for this site so that I could post a note to you. You look so beautiful tonight! You are looking healthier with each passing week! What ever you are doing, keep doing it! I get so much out of your presentations and want to listen to you for years to come, so keep being kind to yourself!

dtoob said...

Candy, it's now 1:45am in Tequesta,Florida, Wednesday Sept 30.
I am watching a earlier taped program of AC360. I just have to tell you, YOU LOOK GREAT. Have always enjoyed your

David Weinstein

Audrey said...

Dear Candy,
The other day while watching you on CNN, I thought how pretty and bright-eyed you look! I enjoy your reporting. Thanks, Audrey in Oklahoma

Anonymous said...

Candy is a fabulous journalist.

Anonymous said...


Hilda said...

Congratulations to you Candy on your new CNN slot. I think it was "an idea whose time has come" and it came to an impressive and deserving person. I have followed your jounalistic endeavors for quite a while now and was most impressed with your coverage of the 2008 campaign. It was very refreshing to listen to someone who adheres to professional boundaries and leaves the editoralizing out of the equation. You continue to be a breath of fresh air and I look forward to see you on State of the Union.

Hilda, LCSW
Houston, Texas

adib said...

I like Candy very much, she is so suveet,smart,and sober.

Anonymous said...

Candy I wish you well. You have big boots to fill following John King. Word of advice. Ask the right tough question. Establish your bonafides. Example, interview today with Gen.Jones. Question should have been "What do you think the reaction of soldiers will be to this new policy?" If you ask soft questions you will obviously receive evasive answers. At least you should try to solicit informative answers. Study David Gregory. He thus far has done a credible journalistic job and isnt afraid to bore down on his guests. Tom Weeks Florida

Anonymous said...


Not only are you extremely talented, you are so beautiful! I so enjoy watching you on CNN.
I am looking forward to more discussion on mental issues since shame is still often associated with these diseases. Thank you Candy.

david weinstein said...

Congrats on your new assignment, really enjoyed State of the Union today.
You certainly looked happy.
I assume you will still be going out on special assignments as they arise.
Wishing you the very best.

David Weinstein

AMDeist said...

Candy: Your discussion with the governors of Vermont and Massachusetts was excellent. There is not way to fix our Federal Government until we get the money out of politics, and that isn't going to happen. Our Supreme Court just added fuel to the fire with their recent decision to allow corporations the same rights as individuals. Now the Chinese or Japanese, who hold most of our debt can use their money through interests in American Corporations to have a say in our Government. As Pogo said: "We have met the enemy and he is us"!

Scott Neilson said...


Of all the politcal analysts I have followed over the last few years, you are the one whose opinion I most all regards. So, I have a question upon which I would really like your perspective.

Yesterday CNN had an interview with Karl Rove in which he was pointing out that had President Obama really reached out to Republicans from Day 1, that he would have made a lot more progress on his agenda than he has.

Is it your opinion that President Obama did not really reach across the aisle as he should the early days of his administration as well as since the democrats lost the super-majority?

Thank you.


Anonymous said...

I've really become such a fan of yours. You are so witty and smart.Loved reading your bio info.I don't know what you have done to yourself but you look very,very good!! Congrats on being so talented.

Anonymous said...

Candy crowely is amazing i never knew so much about her she is one of the best and countinues to still be the best i love watching her on sundays go Candy!

Anonymous said...

Candy - I am watching you on State of the Union and I had to write and commend you. I always thought you were fairly left-minded, but you were VERY fair in your discussion with Mr. Trumka and Mr. McCracken. Thank you for being a true, non-biased reporter!

Anonymous said...

Candy Crowley is perhaps the best at asking informed questions without bias and framing them in a sensitive way. Her intellect and understanding of issues are astounding. I'd love to see a book on the interviews about combat and more shows on mental illness in America. She said she loved the show on January 16, 2010, and so did I. I wish she could train other correspondents on CNN to challenge untruths. Some seem so afraid to have bias that they don't challenge anything or else they just don't understand the issues. Candy is the best, though Wolf ain't bad either.

Dorothy Johns said...

Thank you for great coverage. 2011 for me has been a year of cuts. My social security check was cut, my retirement check(s) was/were cut. I assume my pensions were cut because of the state legislature (FL). So by the time state and federal get through with us, we won't have much income. Why don't the members of Congress deeply cut their salaries and contribute heavily to their health ins., etc? Let them suffer along with the rest of us.

James said...

I have heard you over and over discussing the "Birther" issue along with other members of the media, yet I have never heard any of you in the media address the number one fact regarding this topic that being. . . It is the duty of both the FBI and the Secret Service to investigate all Presidential candidates for President and determine their eligibilty and also for the "Top Secret clearance of the Commander in chief," this being the case, these doubters are seeking their answers in the wrong place when they address them to the media, I'm sure that if these investigative branches had found any sign of disqualification and they being under the control of the Republican party at the time would have been shouting from the highest roof tops in the District.

JJ in NV