David Gregory: “I Could Have Kept My Temper Under Better Control on a Few Occasions”

By Alissa Krinsky 

5 Questions For…David Gregory

Alissa Krinsky
TVNewser Contributor

A little more than two weeks after his debut as principal news anchor of MSNBC’s election coverage — in a role previously held by Keith Olbermann and Chris Matthews — David Gregory will be at the helm again tonight after the first John McCain-Barack Obama presidential debate.

It’s an ideal gig for a guy who says he “can’t get enough of covering politics.”

Gregory, who also doubles as NBC’s Chief White House Correspondent and host of MSNBC’s Race For The White House, joined NBC News in 1995. Previously, he worked for KCRA-TV in Sacramento. A California native, Gregory graduated from American University.

Today, as one presidential administration winds down and Election 2008 heats up, Gregory opens up about his years covering the Bush White House, his role at MSNBC, and his thoughts on the evolution of Meet the Press.

1. TVNewser: My perspective on becoming anchor of MSNBC’s political coverage:
Gregory: I am just thrilled to be part of the team for our political coverage. This is the most exciting campaign I have covered and it doesn’t get any better than having the sort of commitment to the story that MSNBC has made all year long. We have smart, passionate voices at MSNBC and the audience is paying attention.

2. TVNewser: What the future may hold for Meet the Press, and what my role might be on the program:
Gregory: I think the best tribute NBC News could have made to Tim [Russert] was to put someone of Tom Brokaw’s caliber at the helm of Meet the Press. He’s the right guy and he will be there through the election which is everyone’s focus now.

As for me, I’ve had such great opportunities at NBC News and MSNBC, I’m very happy doing my program, Race for the White House and other political coverage. I’m just concentrating on that.

3. TVNewser: How I rate Race for the White House so far:
Gregory: We are always trying to improve Race for the White House. During and since the conventions, we have changed the format. I love having a panel of reporters and commentators, but we have added newsmaker interviews which I really enjoy doing and other one on one segments with campaign officials, authors and strategists.

We have tried to establish a theme through the program of leadership — what are the leadership tests the candidates have to pass in order to win this race to the White House.

4. TVNewser: As the Bush administration winds down, my thoughts on my 7+ years as a White House correspondent:
Gregory: I can’t think of a more fulfilling assignment than covering the White House. Above all, I have tried to be tough and fair. I could have kept my temper under better control on a few occasions with press secretaries. But as a reporter on that beat, I don’t regret having some fight in me.

5. TVNewser: When it comes to anchoring vs. reporting, how I see my career evolving:
Gregory: The best part of my experience at NBC News is that I have been afforded opportunities across all our platforms. I have played different roles and enjoyed them all because I just can’t get enough of covering politics and the world. I just hope to keep it going.