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09.27.12

Girls on the Bus: Newswomen Discuss Presidential Politics

Norah O’Donnell, Kathleen Parker, and other top newswomen tell tales about the campaign trail.

President Obama doesn't see a shrink. That's according to Washington Post columnist Kathleen Parker, who joined four other high-profile newswomen Thursday for a More magazine panel on press coverage of the presidential campaign.

Parker was answering a question from More editor in chief Lesley Jane Seymour about "un-PC" questions the newswomen would like to ask the candidates. Parker said she actually did ask the shrink question. The president had told her that he sometimes lies awake at night worrying about extreme partisan tensions, she said. "I asked him point-blank if he ever talked to anyone about that,” she recalled, laughing. “I could see those wheels turning," she said, as he considered the question.

"The answer was no."

Parker was joined on the panel, held at the Lambs Club restaurant in midtown Manhattan, by Norah O’Donnell, co-host of CBS This Morning; Chris Jansing, host of Jansing & Co. on MSNBC; Christina Bellantoni, political editor at PBS Newshour; and Maggie Haberman, senior political writer for Politico. All of the women are featured in the magazine's October issue, along with CNN’s Soledad O’Brien and Helene Cooper of The New York Times.

The women discussed the controversial Romney fundraiser video, the candidates’ wives, and the pros and cons of Twitter. They agreed that women politicians face a different kind of scrutiny than men about their hair, clothes, and weight, and they shared their own career war stories. (A man once patted then-cub reporter Parker on the head; after a male colleague nabbed a story from Jansing early in her career, he said she would get over it—she was just "a girl.")

The overall opinion of Twitter was generally positive, with O'Donnell calling it "almost like a wire feed."

But Parker dissented. “I failed to catch the Twitter bug,” she said. She pointed out that she is “of a different generation," noting: "I am wearing hose.”