Morning! I'm Sam Stein, White House correspondent and political editor for The Huffington Post. I've worked for the website since it opened up it's D.C. bureau in Sept. 2007. Along with the great Tom Edsall (Google him), I was the site's first reporter. I started out covering the 2008 campaign and, from there, went on to cover the Obama administration. In a moment that still puzzles political historians, President Obama called on me during his first White House news conference, making me the first online reporter to ask the president a question in such a setting. Because I pay their bookers healthy sums, I also get to appear on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" and "Hardball."

I came to HuffPost from Newsweek. I'm a graduate of the Columbia Journalism School and Dartmouth College. I'm also big fan of the Red Sox, which this year has been soul-destroying.

With convention season set to kick off on Monday, there's a lot to talk about in the world of politics. Let's get this started. Ask me anything! Verification here and photo here.

UPDATE: Had a great time, but got to get back to work. I'll be checking for and answering more of your questions throughout the day!

LATER UPDATE: I'm back and answering more questions. Send them my way.

FINAL UPDATE: Hey everyone, thanks for the questions. It was wonderful to engage with the community. I'm getting back to work now but hopefully we can do this again in the future. Best, Sam.

Comments: 992 • Responses: 12  • Date: 

saggarwal121800 karma

It seems as though as The Huffington Post has gotten more popular and more mainstream, that the quality of the content has diminished. The site has started to use headlines that sensationalize their stories and has also begun to place significant focus on celebrity news and gossip. I would say that HuffPo is trying to appeal to everyone and by doing so, they're not serving anyone. What would you say in response to that claim?

samsteinhp27 karma

Just reposting something i wrote earlier so that folks new to this can see. what we try to do here at the Huffington Post is not narrow down the type of material we cover, but expand it so that readers can experience different topics, read different stories, and discover new information. The reporting content hasn't diminished because of that. in fact, it's improved. We have people who can expand the scope of their beats and attempt to understand and explain how one topic (say, politics) interacts by several others (business, health, culture, etc....). We also have firm priorities with respect to the stories we feel we have to cover. Those include people who have fallen through the social safety net, the influence of money in politics, Afghanistan and other topics. Finally, as a reader, you can always skip the celebrity and gossip stuff if you want. The website is easy to navigate. Just click on a different section.

comix_corp69 karma

would you rather be blind or have penises for arms?

samsteinhp121 karma

this is too personal. but clearly, the latter.

jmu133059 karma

Hi Sam,

It's possible this is simply a function of Twitter and hearing more complaints about it, but it seems as though both camps (though arguably much more so from Romney's) this cycle have been especially restrictive of what reports are "allowed" to ask. Given this, I have two questions.

1) Is this year really as abnormal as it has seems? 2) What can a reporter do, if anything, to get around these restrictions?

samsteinhp60 karma

Campaigns are always trying to influence what type of topics get brought up during the course of an interview. Yesterday, in fact, the Romney campaign told a Colorado reporter that questions about Akin and abortion were off limits. That was over the line and the reporter, rightfully, objected to it and then explained to viewers that such a restriction had been placed on her. Then, of course, there was the story of the Obama campaign demanding prior clearance of quotes (they were giving interviews on background and would only allow themselves to be identified if the reporter ran the quote by them first). That practice is part of the business now. But it's fair to say it sucks, majorly. I think reporters have to push as much as they can to ensure that these things don't happen. And then, when or if they do, be completely transparent about it.

MortMyersMarryMe20 karma

Is it true the Huffington Post is so liberal your offices are literally inside a bleeding heart?

samsteinhp11 karma

Not true. But the office is literally hugging a tree.

Forgotmypasswrd18 karma

How's the food in the White House Briefing Room?

samsteinhp38 karma

Terrible. They only have vending machine stuff there. I choose to avoid.

HossCo16 karma

Why have we not seen an appreciable electoral advantage develop from Romney's considerable cash advantage yet? Is the Romney camp simply sitting on the cash until October?

samsteinhp27 karma

The Romney campaign has been prohibited from using a lot of the cash it has raised because he has not formally been awarded the nomination. That changes on Monday at the convention in Tampa. And if you live in a swing state, expect to see nothing but political ads for the next few months.

akersam7 karma

First off, thanks for doing an AMA! My question is, of all the people you have met who are in the public eye, who seemed to be the most intelligent?

samsteinhp7 karma

Good question. it's tough to say. I've met a lot of very smart people. One who jumps out to me is Zbigniew Brzezinski, who has a seemingly endless understanding of world affairs. But man, that name! so hard to pronounce, let alone spell. (yes, i Googled it before responding)

wskrs2 karma

Do you think people in the media are really, truly aware of how average people feel on a day to day basis, or are most people in news (especially on the political side) engulfed in a Washington DC echo chamber? Sometimes I listen to Morning Joe and feel like the people on that panel largely have no idea what it's like to be an average person living an average life with an average salary.

samsteinhp5 karma

It's a continuous challenge for sure. Covering politics requires being in D.C. or following a politician or candidate as they travel. This makes it very difficult to get an accurate understanding of life outside the Beltway/bubble. Part of what we try to do to avoid that is for reporters to team up on stories: with one going out and doing on the ground reporting and another adding elements culled from sources/events in D.C.