Related Content: Gwen Ifill

The Risks and Rewards of Party Purity

Gwen's Take

If you want to sum up the challenges facing mainstream Democrats and Republicans this campaign season, hop a plane to Kentucky.

That’s what I did this week, and when I got there I discovered the political world must be a pretty lonely place for Barack Obama and Mitch McConnell this year.

Listening to the Other Side

Gwen's Take

I spent a day at the University of Vermont this week, getting up close and personal with my favorite people – the ones who like getting their news from PBS.

In the back of my mind, I had hoped the visit would give me a chance to take the pulse of American youth in much the same way President Obama did to great effect at the University of Wisconsin in Madison earlier in the week.

Who Exactly Are the Bums?

Gwen's Take

September 17, 2010

With a little over six weeks left before Americans go to the poll and put us out of our midterm election madness/misery, this year’s prevailing political story line got a fresh bump this week: voters want to throw the bums out.

This morning-after punditry has become more and more predictable with every new poll and every primary election night. Americans are angry, economically stressed and completely over Washington. Obama. Congress. It matters not. They just know what’s happening now is not working.

Recalculating: News and Politics in the Age of GPS

Gwen's Take

Like many of you, I have become slightly addicted to the voice embedded in my dashboard that tells me where and how to drive my car.

If I miss an exit, it grows silent for a moment before calmly advising me that it is “recalculating.”

If only there were a global positioning app for the news and politics.

The Peace of The Brave: Middle East Peace Talks Then and Now

Gwen's Take

“A great moment of opportunity,” she said.

“There's a lot of skepticism out there,” he said. “But I think there is ground to be hopeful.”

Why We Love It When the President Goes Away

Gwen's Take

The President of the United States is on vacation. I am not. It rained for his first three days in Martha’s Vineyard. The sun was shining here. (Tee hee.)

Forgive my enjoyment. But it’s nice to take a break from news of floods, imminent hurricanes, mosque debates and the impending spectacle of Glenn Beck and Al Sharpton facing off on the National Mall this weekend, to meditate on something lighter for a change – time off.

An Unplanned Aberration: A peek behind the curtain at the PBS NewsHour

Gwen's Take

If the camera had continued rolling Monday night at the NewsHour after I completed a segment on the debate over the so-called “ground zero mosque,” you would have seen me beating my head against the anchor desk.

Leaning Left and Right: Why Labels Won't Help This Year

Gwen's Take

OK, folks, it’s time for another of my periodic forays into definitional politics.

To accomplish this, I have to take my own profession to task – and then rise to its defense. The problem: we reach too easily for shorthand. The defense: we live for shorthand.

This run-up to this week’s elections gave us a rich trove of gaffes to choose from to help me make my point, but I’ll settle on two events that lend themselves to two key questions.

Retiring "Mission Accomplished" & The Long Hot Summer

Gwen's Take

Perhaps Oprah brought the President a cake when she joined his tight circle of Chicago friends for a birthday dinner this week. That’s more of a celebration than he has been able to have for any of his other landmark dates this year.

Consider the options.

Toxic Conversations

Gwen's Take

A few years ago, my friends Mark Halperin, now of Time Magazine, and John Harris, now of Politico, coined the term “freak show” as a catchall for the fever that overtakes those of us in the information gathering business from time to time.  “Toxicity,” they wrote in their 2006 political book, “The Way to Win,” “is the new defining trait of modern American politics.”