We talked to Garrett today about the reason for his decision, what impact the White House vs. Fox News battle had, what his new Twitter handle will be and more.
Mediaite: National Journal has been going through some major revamping with new hires coming in. What was it that appealed to you specifically with this opportunity?
Garrett: Anyone who has worked nearby or competed against Ron Fournier knows he is one of the most tenacious, intelligent reporters in Washington. I’ve been a huge fan of Ron Brownstein since he was at U.S. News And World Report. You put those two Rons together, you already have a phenomenal team. The team they’re building there is just, for me personally, almost too good to be true. That they would want to find a place for me, a TV guy, to come back to print after eight years, that’s a big thing. It’s a happy coincidence that things converged, and I’m very much looking forward to the next thing.
Mediaite: You’ll be leaving the White House briefing room as well, to cover Congress. How do you feel about switching beats?
Garrett: Great. I started in Washington covering Congress first, and learned the ins and outs of the legislative process, how Congress interacts with Presidents. I’ll maintain all my contacts at the Obama White House, which makes me a more effective congressional reporter.
Mediaite: You tweeted you’ll be writing about national politics as well. What does that mean? Is that different than reporting, or am I reading too much into it?
Garrett: There’s a lot of bandwidth at National Journal. They have, and will continue to burnish, a reputation as a place where long form writing exists and is important. I have every reason to believe that they want a lot of reporters chasing interesting stories in a long form nature. I’ll have a chance once in awhile to be the lead writer, or one of the writers, on pieces. I expect to travel during the midterms, and tell stories not just on individual races but the arc of American politics. I’m not the only one who will do it, but I may sometimes be a small voice and it will be something I’ll have the chance to do.
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