Our guest is Mark Shields, a syndicated columnist and political analyst on the PBS Newshour. He discusses his early days in politics and shares stories of his role as a legislative assistant to Senator William Proxmire (D-WI) and his work on the presidential campaigns of Senator Robert Kennedy (D-NY) in 1968 and Senator Edmund Muskie (D-ME) in 1972.
He talks about the profound impact the assassination of Robert Kennedy had on his life and his eventual transition into journalism as a columnist for the Washington Post. He salutes Thomas P. “Tip” O’Neill and Gerald Ford as examples of politicians who were “strangers to self-importance.”
He shares stories from being a political analyst on the PBS NewsHour program and speaks about David Gergen, Paul Gigot and David Brooks with whom he partnered on the program at different times during his twenty-seven years.
He reflects on the use of humor in his journalism, and suggests that 2012 was the worst presidential campaign he covered because candidates Obama and Romney both appeared to not like politics very much. He says that John McCain’s 2000 presidential primary campaign was his favorite for the candidate’s openness and willingness to speak to voters. [Broadcast Date: February 4, 2013]
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