FishbowlDC Q&A With DailyMail.com’s J.T. Rushing

The man doesn't drink coffee.

J.T. Rushing, one of DailyMail.com’s newest hires, was kind enough to have a quick question and answer session with FishbowlDC.

Rushing covered Senate leadership and D.C. politics for The Hill for three years before moving into freelance work, writing for publications that included The Washington Times and Capitol Connection.

Now, as he embarks on his latest adventure as a reporter for DailyMail.com, Rushing dishes on everything from his time covering the Senate to his Spotify account.

FBDC: What’s the craziest thing you heard while you were covering the Senate for The Hill? 

J.T. Rushing: I used to specialize in stories for which I would track down all 100 senators, ask them something creative, and then compile the story from the quotes I collected. For one story, in 2008, I asked all 97 senators who weren’t running for president at the time if they would accept the vice presidential nomination. Sen. [Ted] Kennedy’s reply was great: “I want to get the hang of my current job first.”

For another, around 2010 or so, I asked all [the] senators who they most liked to work with across the aisle on legislation, and whom they most disliked (off-the-record). Ironically, Sen. [Chris] Dodd made the top of both lists. Other reporters also came up with great lines over the years. One reporter compared the Senate to “a yawning cat” when it returns from a recess. Another reporter once asked Harry Reid’s press secretary (Jim Manley at the time) how high he was when he wrote his resignation email to the press corps.

FBDC: You’re making a transition from working freelance to working for DailyMail.com. What’s that like? 

Rushing: After about 20 years of working at established, mainstream newspapers across the country, I embraced the freelance lifestyle at first for the freedom and independence. But after a while, I missed the stability and camaraderie of being part of a newsroom and a team. I’m eager to get that feeling back, even if I’ll be working remotely, far from the paper’s U.S. headquarters in New York.

FBDC: What is the best job you’ve ever had?

Rushing: There’s been parts of each job I’ve had that I loved, from Lafayette, Ind. to Kenosha, Wis., then to Baton Rouge, La., Arlington, Texas, Tallahassee, Fla. and then here in D.C. South Louisiana was like a different planet. Dallas-Fort Worth was exciting because the Cowboys were in the midst of planning their new stadium. Florida gave me a chance to cover Jeb Bush, the Terri Schiavo controversy, the 2004 summer of four hurricanes and the 2006 governor’s race. D.C. brought me the 2008 presidential race, then 2012, and now I get to go out on the campaign trail too.

FBDC: Favorite movie? 

Rushing: Tie between Airplane and Jerry Maguire.

FBDC: What song was last played on your iTunes/Spotify account?

Rushing: The Who, “Won’t Get Fooled Again.” If there’s a better song than that out there, I haven’t heard it.

FBDC: What did you have for breakfast?

Rushing: I generally don’t eat breakfast. Sorry, I know it’s supposedly the most important meal of the day and all that, but I’ve never been a morning person. And I’m probably the only journalist on Earth who doesn’t drink coffee.

FBDC: Favorite season of House of Cards? 

Rushing: I confess I haven’t yet gotten into the show yet. I’m still mourning The West Wing. And I love Veep.

FBDC: What was the the last D.C. restaurant you visited? 

Rushing: The Fig and Olive, when I ran into Josh Earnest. I knew Josh from 2006 when he was doing press for former Democratic Rep. Jim Davis during his gubernatorial run in Florida.