CNN's Candy Crowley Extends Mastery Of Political Reporting To Sundays

Reporter Of Reporters Host Michel Martin talks with CNN's Candy Crowley. Crowley is the cable network's senior political correspondent and was recently named as host of CNN's Sunday morning political affairs program,"State of the Union." She will become the only female host in the lineup of national political programs aired by major broadcast networks. Crowley talks about what she is looking forward to in the new job and offers her perspective on this week's political stories.

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MICHEL MARTIN, host:

And now we turn to Candy Crowley. If you have any level of politics at all, then you know her. She's CNN's senior political correspondent. She was just tapped to be the new host of CNN's Sunday morning news talk show, "State of the Union." She makes her debut this weekend.

Candy Crowley is with us now. Welcome. Congratulations.

Ms. CANDY CROWLEY (Senior Political Correspondent, CNN): Thank you so much. I'm excited about it.

MARTIN: Are you excited?

Ms. CROWLEY: Yes, I am.

MARTIN: Well, a lot of people are excited for you. Before we get started talking about you and the program, I did want to just get your thoughts about the conversation we just heard about the Tea Party Convention. What is your sense of what this movement says about the state of politics? How significant do you think it is?

Ms. CROWLEY: I think it will be very significant this year. I think whenever you see what may be the seeds of a third party, you need to be very skeptical because there's not a very good track record for third parties. Also, this is a (unintelligible) movement because they are, by nature, independents, iconic (unintelligible), any libertarians. And so it is tough for all these particular and your guest says that there are Democrats there. I judge there're probably fewer than there are Republicans or Conservatives. But nonetheless, I think what is correct is that there is a feeling in this country that things are wrong. Now, the thing is, you can say I think that President Obama is taking the country in the wrong place, which I judge most of these people are going to feel at the Tea Party Convention, but there were others who are upset because nothing's getting done. Not that they don't like what he wants to do, but the fact that nothing's getting done, or they perceive nothing's getting done, is a difficult movement to kind of characterize just because it has so many people in it with differing views. One commonality is they are upset with how Washington's working.

MARTIN: Okay. Well, more to come on that, I am sure.

So let's get back to you. As we could figure out, you're only the second woman to solo host one of these platform programs. Leslie Stahl with "Face the Nation" I think was the first. So do you think and, of course, there are other women who filled in from time to time or co-hosted. But it's been years since a woman has had that platform to herself. Do you think that you add - being a woman adds a different flavor, if you will?

Ms. CROWLEY: Okay. I think it's sort of at the core of it and that is let's shed light on these things, let's hold public officials accountable for their actions. Let's try to make a little news here, let's push things forward. Let's look in the last week and see what's going on. I think that's a core journalistic value. In that sense, I don't see John King, the previous host, and I disagreeing on what we - what the mission of the show is.

But two people have different styles, different interview styles perhaps. Different ways they want to put things, different guests they want to bring to the floor. I'm particularly sensitive. And I think John used to - so this is not, you know, particularly, this has nothing to do with his show and everything to do with the fact that, yes, I'm different in part of why I'm different than what's been on is my gender. And I hope that in the end, what people judge me for is the journalism and I think that is. But I - you know, you bring something a little different to the table. And I have to say, when I sat down with the president of the network, Jon Klein, he said to me, I don't want you to I don't want Candy Crowley to do "John King Show." I want Candy Crowley to do "Candy Crowley Show."

MARTIN: Which is why people want to watch you, I think. I mean, that...

(Soundbite of laughter)

MARTIN: That is not a slam at John King. But the fact is that you got you are one of these reporters that - you are a reporter's reporter. You're somebody that other reporters respect and appreciate because you're out there every day, doing the job consistently, which is one of the reason you have all the awards that you have, which I don't have time to read.

But I just want to read you from a piece you

Ms. CROWLEY: Okay.

MARTIN: ...wrote in November for Washingtonian, that's a monthly cultural magazine here in the nation's capital. It was titled "How I Fell for Cats." You wrote that the cats were the silent helpers of a single mother, constants in an inconstant schedule, purring when I was sharp, at home when I wasn't. They couldn't talk, but I know they listened.

You have two grown sons. I have to tell you that I think a lot of people would be shocked to find out that even a single mom doing this very difficult job all these years, because you never talk about it, but how do you do it?

(Soundbite of laughter)

Ms. CROWLEY: It helps to have really good kids and I did. And I think in some ways, Michel, that this - that I do get it in some sense what people are going through. Look, I've been lucky and I don't, for a minute, compare myself to people who are struggling with their jobs. I have a job and their kids. I said when we had a sort of a post last Sunday show for John King's last and moving forward in their mind, I said this is the first time I have had a major career change that I wasn't thinking - how am I going to get the boys from baseball practice to school and back again for the tutor?

MARTIN: Well...

Ms. CROWLEY: And, you know, I mean, just like that, which really dominate your day at a time where you're trying to be a, you know, journalist and...

MARTIN: Doing mom and mom. All right. Well, we'll be listening and we'll be watching. Good luck to you. Candy Crowley is the new host...

Ms. CROWLEY: Thanks.

MARTIN: of CNN's political interview program "State of the Union." She begins her post in she takes the host's chair this Sunday. We wish you every good wish, Candy, for your success.

Ms. CROWLEY: Thank you so much.

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