Greenspan: Hepburn ‘almost up to Andrea’s standard’

Tuesday night at the Newseum was a real charmer.

NBC News chief foreign correspondent Andrea Mitchell and her husband of 14 years, former Fed Chairman, Alan Greenspan revealed details of their courtship as guests of the Reel Journalism Film Series. It is a co-production of American University’s School of Communication and the Newseum.

Asked to select their favorite journalism movie for the screening, the D.C. power couple chose the Oscar-winning romantic comedy “The Philadelphia Story” starring Cary Grant, Katharine Hepburn, and James Stewart.  Mitchell said she was attracted to the film because of Hepburn’s character, Tracy Lord—a strong female lead who Mitchell characterized as a tomboy who wears slacks and is “beautiful, but beautiful in a gangly way.”

Greenspan, who was 14 when the movie was released in 1940 and saw it open at Radio City Music Hall, agreed he too was attracted to Hepburn’s character, quickly adding that she is “almost up to Andrea’s standard.”

In the rare joint appearance, Mitchell dished the dirt on what brought a D.C. journalist and Wall Street economist together.  “We met over the federal budget,” she said.  “Not a very sexy come-on.”  A year of phone calls to talk dollars and cents finally led to dinner in New York.  When asked if budget talk is how he woos women, the oft-quoted Greenspan replied, “Works all the time.”

Mitchell and Greenspan were introduced by AU professor Dotty Lynch, herself a well-known news veteran after 26 years at CBS.  Lynch reminisced about her days competing with Mitchell for stories on the campaign trail.  The former competitors turned friends now have the chance to catch up through a partnership between NBC News and AU’s School of Communication.

Later in the evening when describing the difficult struggle for women breaking into the newsroom, Mitchell said there were “very few of us on the campaign bus…we stayed very connected.”

Greenspan and Mitchell don’t get to the movies as often as they’d like anymore.  Perhaps it’s inflation that keeps them away.  Both remembered catching the double feature as kids for 25 cents and 75 cents respectively.  But Greenspan pointed out, “that quarter was solid silver.”

*A special note of thanks to American University Communications Aide Wes Hickman for the contents of this post. Photo credit for the above right picture of the power couple: Maria Bryk/Newseum.