Background: Mr. Todd knows politics from the inside out, having worked on state initiatives in his home state of Florida and national campaigns based in Washington, D.C., before joining the National Journal’s “Hotline” in 1992.
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During the next 15 years, he helped “Hotline” grow from a single daily political briefing to a major player on the political scene, eventually becoming its editor-in-chief. He moderated a presidential candidate debate in Iowa in 2004. By the time he was named NBC News’ political director in 2007, he had become a familiar face on C-SPAN’s “Washington Journal” and on MSNBC, and a familiar byline to readers of Atlantic Monthly, the New York Times and the Washington Post. He had been on the Washingtonian’s list of “50 Best Journalists” and was one of George magazine’s 50 most influential people in politics. He also teaches a graduate-level course in political communications at Johns Hopkins University. Not that he’s got tons of spare time. As political director, he is responsible for every aspect of NBC’s political coverage, including editing “First Read,” NBC’s political briefing, in addition to writing a weekly column for MSNBC.com.
Buzz: Hired by the late Tim Russert, who may have recognized something of himself in Mr. Todd, the political director is another everyman who crossed over into the spotlight and developed a rather amazing grace—no matter how many hours he puts in on- and off-camera, how many sources he works and how many admiring TV beat reporters he takes calls from. He has inspired adoring Web sites, something no other candidates for the Russert chair on “Meet the Press” has done. No matter which way NBC News goes with its biggest decision since tapping Meredith Vieira as Matt Lauer’s co-anchor on “Today,” someone will likely be going elsewhere. It’s hard to find anyone who doesn’t think Mr. Todd would leave the biggest hole in the news division’s future since Mr. Russert’s untimely death.