That Time Chuck Todd Thought About Running for Political Office

By Chris Ariens 

Chuck_2In a Q&A in this week’s Adweek, we talked with NBC’s Chuck Todd about the 2016 election, the debates, and how he and his team have brought Meet the Press from third to first in the ratings.

As happens, not everything made the cut for the print story. So here’s an extended discussion of why Todd had to drop out of college, and how he briefly thought about running for office one day himself:

Adweek: You started at The Hotline in 1992, when you were still at George Washington University. Why didn’t you graduate? Was it because you had pretty much said ‘this is what I’m going to be doing. I don’t need a degree?’

Todd: No. I ran out of money. At the end of four years I had some scholarship money. It was gone. I couldn’t figure out how to make it work. I always said, ‘oh, I’ll figure this out.’ And of course life gets in the way. I’m literally six credits short.

Adweek: Are you going to go back?

Todd: Yes. There’s no way my kids are entering college without me finishing. My oldest is 12 so I’m giving myself five years.

Adweek: When did you first get interested in politics?

Todd: It was eighth grade and I needed a book for a book report. My parents were big readers. My dad plucks an old tattered copy of [John F. Kennedy’s] Profiles in Courage and said ‘read this.’ And so I did a report on one of the chapters of the senator that decided not to impeach Andrew Johnson. And that’s when I got hooked. And then from there just started following it more with my dad. My dad was a junkie.

ToddAdweekAdweek: And it continued through high school and into college?

Todd: It did. I remember some high school kid winning a state rep race, either my junior year or senior year. And I thought ‘I know I can win my State Rep. district.’ I thought, ‘you know, maybe I should run for State Rep.’

Adweek: But you decide to study it instead.

Todd: I came to Washington and I just wanted to get into politics. I didn’t know what that meant. It wasn’t journalism. I didn’t come here going ‘I can’t wait to cover this story.’ I just wanted to be in Washington.

Another fact we learned during this interview, NBC’s longtime justice correspondent Pete Williams took this photo of Todd. Williams is the photographer of most of the head shots of NBC News D.C. bureau personnel.

(Photo: Pete Williams/NBC)