Mitchell On Greenspan: He’s “Been Waiting A Long Time To Be Able To Speak His Mind”

By Chris Ariens 

Gail Shister
TVNewser Columnist

Her memoir, published in 2005, ranks 327,824 in sales on

His memoir, published today, ranks No. 1, ahead of O.J. Simpson.

Don’t let the numbers fool you. There is no book envy in the Greenspan-Mitchell household.

“There’s never any competition between us,” says NBC’s Andrea Mitchell of her more famous hub, former Fed chairman Alan Greenspan. “That’s what love is all about.”

The media blitz for The Age of Turbulence: Adventures in a New World began yesterday with Lesley Stahl‘s two-part piece on CBS’s 60 Minutes.

As per protocol, Mitchell, author of Talking Back: …to Presidents, Dictators, and Assorted Scoundrels, had to get NBC’s permission to appear on a rival network.

No biggie, she says. “It’s well understood that when books are coming out, there are different rules.”

Mitchell, 60, and Greenspan, 81, “are at very different stages of our lives and orders of magnitude,” she says. “He’s Alan Greenspan. He’s had a 60-year career, capped by an extraordinary book. People hang on his every word. It’s a unique phenomenon.”

“I’m in a very exciting time. Alan was ending his public career, but I am still actively engaged at NBC. It’s my primary focus. He was able to take a full year and a half to write the book. My first obligation, and joy, is to work for NBC News.”

Mitchell labels Turbulence “a major work that offers a depth of experience and wisdom. It will stand the test of time, beyond the political points being made now.” The wonky Greenspan “has been waiting a long time to be able to speak his mind.”

In real life, Greenspan is “a very modest, very shy person,” Mitchell says. She “mercilessly kids him” about his perceived power to alter markets with an inflection of his voice.

She doesn’t kid him about his habit of writing on a legal tablet in the bathtub, though.

“It’s always been a part of the way he was. He first started soaking in the tub because of his bad back. He found it was good quiet time to have uninterrupted focus to marshal his ideas.”

Mitchell says it wouldn’t work for her. “I’ve never been able to write longhand.”

(photo courtesy of