Daniel Lippman on 4 AM Wake-Ups, Trump’s Twitter, and GU Election Day

CAROLINE GARDNER: Daniel Lippman visited Georgetown University on Tuesday as a part of the GU Politics Election Day event. Politico hosted a ballot prediction “Election Challenge,” giving students a chance to predict the races for a chance to earn prizes. Lippman sat down with On the Record after the event. 

A 2012 graduate of George Washington University, Lippman is no stranger to Washington, D.C.  He is one of three co-authors of POLITICO’s morning newsletter. “It is our role is to break news and to get scoops and highlight the best coverage from Politico and also around the media landscape,” he said.

“The purpose of the newsletter is to get people up to speed on what's going on in Washington and give an insider's perspective about what is going to drive the day,” said Lippman. 

The newsletter, which arrives in the inboxes of “busy and influential” people before 7 AM, includes top headlines, news analysis, President Donald Trump’s daily schedule and POLITICO events. At the bottom of the newsletter is a “Spotted” section (i.e. Washington gossip), “Birthday of the Day” and a long list of D.C.’s politicians, Hill staffers, journalists and business people that were born that day. “People really love the birthday section because it kind of knits together the Playbook community,” said Lippman. 

Lippman has reason to believe that even President Donald Trump is reading Playbook.  “A really exciting time a couple months ago was when President Trump tweeted out my main Playbook scoop,” said Lippman. 

Lippman describes an event in Martha’s Vineyard talking to Democratic Senator Mark Warner of Virginia: “Warner basically said, if he drank a little more wine, then he would tell people the secrets of the Russia investigation. And so Trump tweeted that and kind of put his over the top flair on it.”

He even mentioned that someone texted him earlier on Tuesday, claiming that POLITICO has “more spies and sources than TMZ.” While Lippman mentioned that celebrities do not list their emails as “GeorgeClooney@gmail.com,” he did mention that Julianna Margulies, Maury Povich, Piper Perabo are “loyal subscribers.”

The Playbook team wakes up around 4 AM to get the newsletter in top shape before distributing. In an interview more than 12 hours later, Lippman said “I wouldn’t call myself tired. I’m always excited.”

As far as election day at Georgetown, Lippman said he was “thrilled to see so many Georgetown students really engaged in the political debate and come into the Playbook booth. Everyone's been really welcoming,” he added. “So it's been great.”

 Lippman had two pieces of advice for Georgetown students. “Get as many internships as possible,” he said. “And when you're at those internships, work your butt off.” And secondly, he encourages students “not to get pressured by parents or teachers, or the media into pursuing a career path or a job that you feel obligated to do.”

“You should really do what you want to wake up to, and you should do what you'd be excited to do. So, every day I wake up, I'm excited to pursue my job and do good stories,” he said. If he can wake up excited at 4 AM, a time when many people, Georgetown students or otherwise, would not be too excited to work, then he really took his own advice to heart. 

Caroline Gardner is the head editor of On the Record. She is from the great state of Indiana. She loves Washington media, healthcare policy and Falafel Inc on 33rd Street.

Max Magid