Our Favorite Pundits’ First Jobs

Chuck Todd once bagged groceries for Janet Reno.

In a very fun Q&A with Reuters, political pundits James Carville, Chuck Todd and Chris Matthews shared their first job experiences. And let me tell you, they’ve come a long way.

In high school, Carville spent a summer in a construction job installing home insulation. Louisiana summers can easily reach 100 degrees and insulation is tricky. For the Ragin’ Cajun, the experience was confirmation that manual labor was not his calling. Though, Carville made the most of the fruits of his labors.

“At the time, back in 1960, it was a lot of money – a few bucks an hour. It was probably equivalent to $25 an hour today. I never had that kind of money before, and I didn’t want to give it up. I didn’t put that money aside for college, though – I probably spent it all on girls and beer.”

I like your priorities, Mr. Carville.

Meet the Press moderator Chuck Todd’s first job was bagging groceries at a Miami Publix, where he quickly ascended the ranks to the stockroom.

“First I was in charge of the beer-and-soda aisle, and then the dairy aisle. When you had a ‘beat’ like that, then you could get out of the worst duties like mopping up bathrooms, or cleaning up vomit on aisle three.”

Nice. Once, Todd even had a brush with celebrity.

“That Publix was the grocery store that Janet Reno used to shop at. Once I had to go in the back to get her fresher milk.”

Hardball’s Chris Matthews, Philadelphia Road Warrior, delivered newspapers for a “penny and two-thirds” apiece and was only paid if he could collect on said papers.

“But the worst day was Tuesday: All the local department stores like Wanamaker’s and Gimbels would take out ad space, since Wednesday was the big shopping day back then, and so the papers were just huge. I’m making it sound like a Dickensian workhouse. But I really was on my own out there, riding around on my bike every day, no matter what.”

In case anyone is wondering, my first job was making and selling flip flops at Saturday morning garage sales.