J-Mart Goes From Politico to New York Times

Ben Smith,Jonathan Martin

Jonathan Martin goes from the best politico job in Washington to the number one job in political journalism. Originally with Politico from the very start, Jonathan Martin sent out notice yesterday that he’ll take on the role of National Politics Reporter at the New York Times.

If you could question just how essential J-Mart is to Washington, go no further than the mammoth memo sent out by Politico and republished on HuffPost.

In an email to friends and colleagues, Martin wrote:
“It is truly an awe-inspiring place. They are committed to the best traditions of New York Times journalism: depth, sweep and fearless reporting. But just as exciting for me, the paper is leading the way in fusing those values with some remarkable technological innovation.”

The same message contains a memo from the Times’ Political Editor, Caroline Ryan:
“I’m delighted to announce that Jonathan Martin will be our national political correspondent.

The job is a storied and special one at the Times, and has been home to such giants as Robin Toner, Adam Nagourney, Rick Berke, and, of course, R. W. Apple.

Jonathan is a natural for the role: he has an unending passion for politics, an intrepid journalistic spirit and an astonishingly extensive Rolodex.

He also has a deep love of political history (ask him about his LBJ fixation, when you meet him) and a startlingly detailed knowledge of campaigns and candidates at every level.

Jonathan, 36, was among the first hires at Politico and spent two years on the campaign trail writing about the historic 2008 presidential campaign. He then became White House correspondent, traveling across the country and overseas with President Obama.
After covering the midterm contests in 2010, he served as Politico’s senior reporter on the 2012 campaign, winning praise for his ability to break big news and offer ahead-of-the-curve reporting and analysis.

He came to Politico from the National Review and previously worked for National Journal’s political publication, The Hotline.

Jonathan is a huge fan and student of the Times. He is eager to team up with the gifted political reporters we have here, especiallythe supremely talented Jim Rutenberg – much as Jim did with Jeff Zeleny, who drove our stellar coverage of the 2012 race.

A Virginian, Jonathan is a graduate of Hampden-Sydney College and is married to Betsy Fischer Martin, senior executive producer of Meet the Press. He is an adventurous explorer and appreciator of all corners of America, especially BBQ joints, state capitol buildings and Fenway Park.

Please join me in congratulating and welcoming him.”

VP Biden Surprises Axelrods at CURE Epilepsy Event

CURE Epilepsy’s 2012 Key to the Cure event announced a new Slash The Stache campaign: CNN pundit and Purple Strategies’ own Alex Castellanos has volunteered to give up his moustache if he can bring in 500 more donors. At the event, co-hosted by Connie Milstein and JC de La Haye Saint Hilarie, Tammy Haddad and Susan & David Axelrod, David Axelrod started off remarks with a rhetorical question: “So what’s a mustache,” said Axelrod. “What’s a mustache mean? We got $1.1 million to remove it.”

Held at a private residence in Washington, D.C., Susan and David Axelrod, fresh from their Morning Joe appearance where he lost his iconic mustache, informed the assembled crowd about the DC campaign. “Alex called me and said ‘I’d be willing to join you in this Slash the Stache’ movement if that would be helpful. Tonight we announced on CNN if we can add another 500 donors to the 26 donors we added this month, he will shave his mustache off on CNN. Which, as Alex pointed out, for a Cuban is even harder than it is for me.”

Axelrod closed out his announcement by making way for a surprise guest: Vice President Joe Biden.

“He has great empathy for people who struggle,” said Axelrod in his introduction. “He came out and spoke at our dinner last year in Chicago. Everyone in that room felt like there was a family member there talking to them because he understood their struggles.”

“I came tonight,” said Vice President Biden, “because I think it’s appropriate to nominate Susan for the Nobel peace prize. Because it’s great to be at a bi-partisan event in Washington where everyone knows what to cut and who should pay for it.”

The Vice President went on to address the effects of epilepsy, including the fifteen million effected throughout the world by the disease along with 65,000 that perish from the disease. Referencing his own sister-in-law’s son, Vice President Biden described it as “not only a lightning storm in the brain, but a knife in the heart.”

“All you have to do is look in my sister-in-law’s eyes,” said Biden, “Look at this magnificent child and know there’s not a damn thing you can do to stop the seizure.”

Biden singled out the great scientific work of three top NIH doctors, Dr. Frances Collins, Dr. Story Landis and Dr. Tony Fauci. He also praised the “bi-partisan” efforts of Alex Castellanos in joining the DC Campaign. Washington veteran Heather Podesta is Castellanos co-chair of the new campaign.

Guests included Obama top aides Alan Krueger, Fred Hochberg, Alyssa Mastromonaco, Dan Pfeiffer, Jon Favreau, Ben Rhodes, Bruce Reed, Evan Ryan, Tony Blanken and Cody Keenan. Tech was well represented by Fred and Kim Humphries of Microsoft and Walt Mossberg of “All Things Digital.”The Defense Department’s Jeremy Bash and former Defense Department official Doug Wilson attended along with Dr Mark Dybul, the new head of the Global Fund for AIDs, Tuberculosis and Malaria. GOP Hill top aides Doug Heye (Cantor) and Michael (Boehner) and MK Steel were there to support the cause and Alex Castellanos. Media favorites Jonathan & Betsy Fischer Martin, Ed Henry, Bill Plante,Kimberly Dozier, Luke Russert, Gretel Truong, Kelley McCormick and Patricia Harrison, President of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Washington newcomer, New York Times Congressional reporter Jeremy Peters and partner, Dr. Brendan Camp were greeted by new Washington colleagues. Purple was well represented by Steve McMahon and Rob Collins.

You can watch the full video of the event including the Vice President’s remarks below:

Video streaming by Ustream

Friends and sponsors included Jim McGreevey, American Beverage Association, Dan Whyte, from Brookfield Renewable, Erik Smith from Blue Engine Message & Media, Microsoft, Walmart and American Airlines. Greta Van Susteren and husband John Coale were thanked for their support, friendship and co-sponsoring the event.

David Greenberg was the lucky 11 year old boy along with babysitter Lauren Campbell who were given a ride home by the Vice President in his motorcade!

"Meet" Welcomes Erika Masonhall to NBC

“Meet the Press” rolled out the red carpet Wednesday night for its newest acquisition Erika Masonhall. Betsy Fischer, “Meet The Press” Executive Producer, hosted a cocktail reception at her home to introduce Washington TV and political reporters to the program’s new press representative. For some Hill reporters it was a chance to get reacquainted as Masonhall came to NBC from Capitol Hill, where she worked for several years as the communications director to Senator Joe Lieberman.

Masonhall is representing some of NBC News’s biggest franchises including “Meet the Press” and “Nightly News.” “Meet the Press” Moderator David Gregory invited the crowd of reporters and NBC executives to raise their glasses in a toast Mendenhall.

NBC News President Steve Capus, NBC News press team leader Lauren Kapp and the new Washington Bureau Chief Antoine Sanfuentes, chatted with reporters about the latest Washington buzz on a potential government shutdown, the 2012 GOP field and of course, the upcoming book from Mark Leibovich already causing an uproar on the Hill and in journalism circles.

A state visit from team Politico led by Mike Allen, Jonathan Martin, Manu Raju, and Keach Hagey.

Reporting favorites Emily Goodin, Jackie Kucinich (on her way to USA Today) Jeff Zeleny and Paul Kane enjoyed crab cakes, spring rolls and “Meet the Press” cupcakes made by Marla Romash of “Marla’s Magic.”

Air Force One: Riding the "Bird" with President Obama and Jon Meacham

Obama, Meacham, Gibbs, Haddad in

It is always different; the way a White House informs you that you have the President of the United States for an interview. Sometimes it’s a call to warn an important call is coming, and you better agree to the conditions. Often it is four to six people calling to claim credit for making the interview happen. But, as in most things with Obama, this is a drama free process: just an email asking where you can be reached. This email is from Dan Pfeiffer, deputy communications director of the Obama White House, and the cool and collected center of the daily press hub since the beginning of the campaign.

Newsweek, along with everyone else, had a request in to the White House to get more of President Obama’s words on the record. The interview is for Jon Meacham, named Newsweek editor at 29, now just 40. Meacham is a poet-historian and, like Obama, a bestselling author. Pfeiffer’s email advises that we will get our interview and it will be on Air Force One. Despite no video or audio, we were pleased and I reply, “We are in.” There was a quick handover to the operations folks for details of the trip to Phoenix for the President’s commencement address at Arizona State University.

Meacham and AF OneI ask Meacham if he’s ever been on Air Force One, and he said only at the Reagan Library. My only time was during my stint running MSNBC’s 2004 election coverage when 30 Rock was transformed into “Democracy Plaza,” — a piece of an Air Force One plane was part of the plaza-wide exhibition.

Meacham and I meet up with Newsweek star photographer Khue Bui, a White House press corps veteran and delightful campaign trail mate, who will round out the Newsweek Air Force One team. We arrive at Andrews Air Force Base looking like the desk jockeys we are; editors and producers aren’t usually allowed out of their bureaus.

We watch as the entire White House traveling press corps arrives for a security check; however, they’ll be traveling on the press charter plane departing ahead of Air Force One.

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