Exit Interview With Anne Schroeder Mullins

EXIT7.jpg
Anne.jpg As many of you know, Anne Schroeder Mullins recently departed Politico after three years to start her own media consulting firm. I met up with her on her last day of work at a Starbucks in Dupont Circle, where she opened up on why she’s leaving the publication and journalism. In short, she has changed, she said. She described this time as a “graduation” of sorts to a next level in life. “I really love journalism,” she said. “Nothing is better than when you see someone reading your story and they’re laughing as they read it. …But I need to close that chapter for the time being. I’ve changed and my life has changed and I want a career change. I just sort of grew up a little bit.” It seems even she is not entirely certain what her new life will look like and how it will feel. She knows she will initially work from home. She knows a partner will join her at her firm, which she plans on calling Mullins & Company. She’s not naming the partner just yet. “I’m terrified and I’m excited,” she said. “It’s a big risk. I’m not a big risk taker.” She concedes, “I did go skydiving that one time.” Schroeder Mullins has graciously agreed to be the subject of our debut feature of “Exit Interview.” We wish her luck.

Ok, let’s begin. We’re going to play a little game. All responses are to be people with whom you worked at Politico.

Who would you most want to marry at Politico? I do refer to Patrick [Gavin] as my work husband, but that doesn’t mean I want to marry him. It’s a weird combination of brother/husband.

Who would you most want to sleep with at Politico? I’m totally abstaining.

Who would you most want to kill? I’m abstaining from that one, too.

Who would you want to be stuck in an elevator with? Glenn Thrush. He’s very knowledgeable and funny and the time would pass by fast, although I don’t know how he is in closed spaces.

Who would you want to go to lunch with? I go to lunch almost everyday with Andy Barr.

Who would you want to be in a bunker with? Carol Lee. She is very smart, easy to be around.

Who would you want to go to (or cover) a party with? Patrick Gavin. I’ve been doing that for the past five years. We would go to parties together even before we worked together.

Who would you trust to write your obituary? John Harris because he’s a beautiful writer and he does know me.

Read more Mullins after the jump and find out which famous person swatted her on her behind…


patrickanne.jpg
Schroeder Mullins and her partner in crime, Patrick Gavin

Who would you most want to edit a piece of your work? John Harris. He is hands down the best editor in the country. He has a natural talent that you cannot teach.

Favorite colleague: I would say it’s Gavin and Carol Lee tied.

What will you miss most? I will miss hearing Ken Vogel complain and kvetch in the most loud tones possible. Vogel wore sunglasses [in the newsroom] because he said the light gave him migraines.

What will you miss least? Being married to the web. Web deadlines are endless and continuous.

What have you learned most at this job? I’ve learned a lot about politics, people and how they view themselves. There’s a lot of self importance going on, but along with that there is a lot of generosity, a lot of sources who give you things because they like you. That’s a nice feeling. Mainly I learned how different sects of Washington work – political, social, lobbying, advocacy.

Whose presence did you rely on most at Politico? That’s hard. I relied on a lot of people. For political stuff I relied heavily on Marty Kady, the deputy managing editor. He understands politics really well.

What interview most easily comes to mind? [Rep.]Peter King was the first person I interviewed for a long form story. He is the perfect person to choose. He just does it for you. I wish that I would have interviewed [Transportation Sec.] Ray LaHood. I think he’s very open and honest, at least in interview form. And he wears a red blazer at Christmas. I mean, come on.

Have you ever had a lawmaker get angry at you? I’ve had their press people get angry at me. I don’t think a politician has ever me up and yelled at me. I hear [Sen.] Chuck Schumer is still mad at me about the story I wrote where he called the flight attendant a bitch.

What interviewed bombed? There have been plenty of interviews where they give you one-word answers. Sometimes you can have a chatty interview and you finish and you go and look at your notes and you’re like, I still have nothing. How did that happen? Sometimes I’d say, ‘Is this really what you’re going to give me?’

Funniest Memory: Bon Jovi at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner. He’s sitting there looking at the table directory. I go up and say, ‘Who are you looking up?’ He says, ‘Go away.’ Then he left and hit me on the butt with the directory.” Matthew Morrison [star of ABC’s Glee] is quite a hugger. He likes to hug.

Among the celebs have you interviewed:
a. Most fun: Tim Daly; Anne Hathaway is engaging and nice. You walk away thinking, ‘I kinda want to be her friend.’
b. Least fun: Any A-list celebrity is going to be very guarded. Susan Sarandon comes to mind. I was trying to interview her at the convention and she was having none of it.

Have you ever cried during or after an interview? No, I’m not a big crier.

Do Jim and John correct you if you don’t call them VandeHarris? No, I’ve never called them VandeHarris in my life.

If you could do one thing to improve Politico what would you do? Institute mandatory happy hour where everyone would stop working for an hour.

How do you want to be sent off? A party, a ball, a banquet? Party at the Allbrittons? I don’t need to be sent off. I got a very nice e-mail note from John Harris. That was wonderful enough for me. I opted not to have the cupcake going away gathering. I said let’s just skip it.

You’re trapped in an elevator with your editor, your favorite colleague, and your best source. It’s been three days, and nobody’s come to help. Who would you eat first? I would offer myself, although aren’t you supposed to eat your editor first?