David Gregory, MSNBC White House correspondent, will also be a keynote speaker. A giant (figuratively and literally, since he stands 6’6” tall) on the world scene in broadcast media, Gregory brings the right political and communication background to the group in a presidential race. The pillars of his program will center on his White House experience, his time and impression of President Bush, as well as his election observations. Needless to say, some of Gregory’s humor, candid asides and anecdotes will please the audience.
When asked who has influenced his life, he points to Tim Russert (Washington Bureau chief for NBC and “Meet the Press” moderator) and Tom Brokaw (author and NBC anchor-emeritus). Gregory likes the style of Charley Rose (PBS interviewer) and reveals that becoming a White House correspondent was a dream of his since he was a teenager.
Since Gregory is predominantly in the news and political arena, remaining neutral is paramount to his success and professionalism. He has had to check his own emotions and keep his independent streak, while noting neutrality is a huge responsibility of which he takes seriously. Gregory adds that the political domain is a “minefield.”
His favorite interviewees are heads of state on the world stage. He particularly likes to speak to Presidents and ex-Presidents and mentioned a recent interview with Israel’s head of state. Name national notables, and Gregory has probably interviewed them—candidates, the President, Vice President, Secretary of State and numerous foreign dignitaries. Given that he has covered President Bush the last seven years, and has been known to imitate him in a respectfully humorous way, Gregory will entertain and enlighten the Offset and Beyond audience.
In discussing why people vote for a particular candidate during an election, Gregory believes that foremost is the personality of the candidate; second, and to a lesser degree, their position on issues; and, lastly, the strength of the organization behind the candidate. This includes the organization’s ability to reach people, stage the audience, frame the questions and, most importantly, influence voter turnout.