By Alex Bregman
From the White House to Capitol Hill, Mike Allen’s Politico Playbook has been indispensible reading for most of Washington, D.C., since its first edition debuted on June 25, 2007. Allen is now ending his nearly decade-long run as the author of the popular newsletter and passing the torch to three new Politico reporters on July 11. Allen spoke to Yahoo Global News Anchor Katie Couric about why he’s leaving Politico, how Playbook got started and what’s next for him.
As to why he’s leaving Playbook in the middle of one of the wildest elections in modern history, he insisted he’s not going anywhere, at least not yet. He told Couric, “On Monday I am very excited to be passing the reins of Politico Playbook to Jake Sherman, Anna Palmer, who you know and most of your viewers know, and the indispensable Daniel Lippman, who [has been] my great partner. This is going to be a bridge to the new generation of Playbook. And then, Katie, I’m staying with Politico through the election, so I’ll be at the convention, I’ll be doing events, I’ll be doing stories, so I’m not going anywhere.
How did Playbook start in the first place? Allen told Couric: Politico Playbook went public on June 25, back in the dark ages of 2007, but Politico Playbook started as an email that I did [for] two people. I had two subscribers: my bosses John Harris and Jim VandeHei, and I sent them an email every morning, and the subject line said “How we can rock today?” Allen continued, “In there I just told them what’s going to happen today, what was in the other papers, what we’d missed, what we should cover, what I did last night — and that’s still the gist of playbook today, Katie. The key is to have breakfast with our readers. If you and I sit down to breakfast, what would we talk about? We would talk about what scoops are out there, we’d talk about what’s going on, we would gossip about who’s going to be the VP for the different candidates, and we’d talk about what we were going to do that day. So I think of Playbook as having breakfast with my hundred thousand closest friends.”
Has he ever missed a day writing Playbook? There was one day that I was kind of deathly ill that I sent Playbook out, it was a Sunday, I sent Playbook out at, like, 5 or 6 in the evening. And it was so kind of my many readers … worried about me because I am sort of the weekend, the brunch reading, for so many viewers, but Katie, there’s never been a single day, and I feel so fortunate.” He continued, “I have such an amazing audience, we live in such amazing times, there’s never been a single day I wasn’t excited to get up and do Playbook.”
What’s next for Allen after he leaves Politico in November? He told Couric: “I’ll be riding off into the sunset, starting a new media company with Jim VandeHei, co-founder of Politico [and] Politico’s first CEO, and Roy Schwartz, Politico’s chief of revenue — two people that you know pretty well. We’re excited about the months ahead and excited about the years ahead.”
Yahoo Global News Anchor Katie Couric talks to Politico’s Chief White House correspondent and Playbook author Mike Allen about the 2016 race and the role of Donald Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, in the Trump campaign. Allen said Kushner has the “ear of the boss.”