By Judy Kurtz
These days CNN’s chief congressional correspondent, a position to which she was recently promoted, is likely stocking up on chocolate bars. Between snagging an interview with Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) as he stepped off of the Russell Senate Building subway following his now-famous filibuster last week (she coaxed him on-camera by saying, “I’m glad to hear that you have a voice ... would you like to use it on television?”) and endless sequestration coverage, Bash is staying busy.
The cable news journo, 41, had just dropped off her son at daycare and was driving in to work when ITK caught up with her. “It’s a balancing act that everybody does no matter what you do for a living,” said Bash.
Striking the right chord between work and home life has given the CNN veteran a new perspective on some of the lawmakers she covers. “I struggle with leaving my son to go to work, and then I look at somebody like [Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.)] who has two very young kids and they’re back in New Hampshire. ... There’s definitely an understanding among women.”
She adds there’s also a healthy rivalry between female lawmakers and reporters for a completely different reason: an annual charity congressional women’s softball game.
Spearheaded by Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), Bash says although the game, which raises money for breast cancer research, isn’t until June, “There’s a lot of trash talk throughout the year.”
When she’s not exchanging softball put-downs and after she’s put Jonah to bed, Bash said she likes to indulge in guilty-pleasure TV viewing. “Downton Abbey,” “Scandal,” and “Smash” are regularly in her TiVo line-up. She chuckles that Bravo’s hit “Real Housewives” series helps her “to sort of go off in another world.” But she’s particular about which incarnations of the show she views: “I like ‘New York’ and I like ‘New Jersey’ — I’m a Jersey girl — and I like ‘Beverly Hills.’ But I don’t watch religiously like I used to.”
Having spent her entire professional career at CNN, the Garden State native says while she can name every senator, she wouldn’t have quite as much luck with the House: “I can name most of them, but 435 people, that’s a lot!”
Bash says there’s one thing about the lawmakers she covers that she tries not to forget: “Members of Congress are people too,” she said.
She exclaims, “One of the great things about my job is that we interact with them all the time. We see them when they’re getting food, or going from point A to point B, so it is a reminder that they’re not just soundbite machines or people who are untouchable.”
Photo: Dana Bash/CNN