David Gregory on faith, leaving NBC, and 2016

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By Alex Bregman

“How’s your faith?” That’s the question President George W. Bush asked David Gregory, then moderator of NBC’s “Meet the Press,” back in 2008. It’s now the title of Gregory’s new book, in which he tries to give an answer. Yahoo Global News Anchor Katie Couric sat down with Gregory to talk about the book, leaving NBC, Brian Williams and 2016.

About his reaction to being asked that question by President Bush, Gregory told Couric, “It is such a penetrating question, let alone the president of the United States asking a reporter.” He added, “I knew he wasn’t trying to push his views, and I think for me the question was intimidating at first because it was a blank page.… It was definitely a point of connection between us, because the president had been on a faith journey himself, and I also identified with that.”

Gregory discussed his own journey into his Jewish faith, raising his three children Jewish, and particularly the role his wife, attorney Beth Wilkinson, a devout Methodist, has played in that journey. He said, “She made an enormous sacrifice, and we can have a Jewish family but you really have to know it.… I grew up with cultural identify but not true belief.” He went on, “I felt such gratitude for Beth and for our children and for my career.… I felt a spiritual longing, what is expected of me. What does it mean as a human being to live with a sense of deeper meaning?” He concluded, “Beth was the most influential for how she challenged me about my own faith.”

On leaving NBC as moderator of “Meet the Press,” in his book he writes, “Some of my colleagues saw me as just out for myself, because I was openly ambitious and succeeded young. I regret that.” To Couric, Gregory acknowledged that his departure humbled him.

“There is a cost to that kind of selfishness. To be humble is to realize that I have setbacks, I have weaknesses.… it just put a different perspective on the ordering of your loves.”

Of the controversy surrounding Gregory’s former NBC News colleague Brian Williams, Gregory noted, “I think it’s honest to say that you know I think what he did was wrong.” He continued, “I don’t think you mess around when you talk about tales of valor.” However, he said, “I also want to have compassion for him, and I don’t want to judge him for his mistake…. There is another side to our lives than just being on television.”

Regarding the ongoing race for the White House, Gregory said on the Republican side, “So much oxygen is being sucked up by Donald Trump.” As for the Democrats, he does not think Vice President Joe Biden will run for president and that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will ultimately be the Democratic nominee.

What’s next for Gregory? “I’m a journalist, I love doing interviews, and I hope that will continue.”

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