Minor Annoyance: Police Officer Confiscates NYT John Harwood’s Outdated Press Pass on Capitol Hill

NYT and CNBC political analyst John Harwood was spotted Wednesday on the first floor of the Senate side of Capitol with NBC News Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent Andrea Mitchell. From the looks of it, they were rushing to an interview. But Harwood had an outdated press pass so a Capitol Policeman stopped him and confiscated the pass. “He was flummoxed,” our spy observed. Mitchell implored the officer that they had to get to an interview. Harwood didn’t put up a fight, but seemed upset. The officer let him go on his way to the interview, but minus his outdated press pass.

Embarrassing on a couple different levels: 1. A political expert who didn’t necessarily realize it was  time to renew his press pass? 2. Does he spend so little time on Capitol Hill or was he just oblivious to the protocol?

We sought answers from Harwood and here’s what he told us in bullet-type format over email.

  • Forgot to renew before deadline
  • Went in to Capitol for a lunch w/Leader Reid
  • Left the lunch and headed to Russell balcony w/Andrea Mitchell to do her MSNBC show
  • Capitol cop saw my old pass as we were getting into elevator
  • He wouldn’t let it slide and confiscated the pass
  • I did the MSNBC live shot, then went to Dirksen to get a temporary pass and sign form needed for new permanent one
  • Yes, it’s a pain. Won’t forget to renew next time.

We followed up on when he last visited Capitol Hill. He did not respond to that inquiry.

UPDATE: Harwood responded to this last part, saying, “I didn’t realize, but not because I haven’t been to Capitol Hill recently. Depending on what entrances you use and how attentive the cops are, the state of your pass can be irrelevant to getting into the building.”