"I've actually never watched network news."
Maddow: Right now I'm ...
Watching: Mad Men and the miniseries First Among Equals on DVD.
Listening to: Music from Lucero, M.I.A. and Steve Earle on her iPod, as well as "trashy" thrillers and mystery novels.
Clicking on: BoingBoing.net, Wired.com, TalkingPointsMemo.com and ForeignPolicy.com. "I'm online all day, every day!"
Reading: The Christians and the Fall of Rome by Edward Gibbon and a bartending book from the '40s called Here's How! "It makes me happy when the decline and fall of the Roman Empire bums me out."
Following: Broadcaster Andrea Mitchell (@mitchellreports), humorist John Hodgman (@hodgman) and author Ana Marie Cox (@anamariecox) on Twitter. They "are all brilliant."
It's no exaggeration to say that The Rachel Maddow Show cemented MSNBC's place as the anti-Fox News Channel during the 2008 presidential election. Although Rachel Maddow's nightly political gabfest is a place for liberals to get fired up, the Rhodes Scholar is not quite giving President Obama a free ride. In a post-show chat, we asked Maddow, 36, about that, her competition and whether she plans to marry her longtime partner, artist Susan Mikula. The inside scoop:
Has President Obama disappointed you?
No, but I never thought he was going to be a liberal. I thought he was running as a pretty centrist Democrat, and I think he has governed as a pretty centrist Democrat.
How do you stay up on the news?
I exist, essentially, totally online in my news-gathering experience, and that means you can seek out what you want and find almost as much depth as you want on any one thing that you want.
I guess you don't have a favorite broadcast news anchor, then?
I've actually never watched network news my whole life. Growing up, we were not a network news family.
What about your cable competition, Sean Hannity or Larry King?
I've never actually seen a whole prime-time show on Fox, and I've never seen an episode of Larry King. I was booked to go on [King's] show in January 2008, but that was the night that MSNBC offered me a contract to be exclusive, so I had to cancel.
Is there someone you'd like to have on your show who won't do it?
Dick Cheney or his daughter Liz Cheney, who has done every other cable news show in the world but won't come on my show.
What do they say?
Liz Cheney has been very friendly, but the answer's always no. She even ran ads on her website talking about how people on MSNBC don't want to debate the real issues. I was like, "Come on, I'll debate anything with you." The [former] vice president's office doesn't bother responding.
What would you ask him?
It would be a long discussion. I would essentially treat it like a trial.
Do you and your partner want to get married?
We live in the state [Massachusetts] where the right has existed for the longest, and we have not made a decision to get married. This spring, we will have been together for 11 years, and our relationship is serious and happy, mature, monogamous. We like having the right, and we think that everybody should have the right, but we're making our own decision about whether we should exercise it.
Do you want kids?
No. We both have really rich family lives with our extended families, and neither one of us has ever wanted to have kids.
Photos courtesy of NBC Photo: Virginia Sherwood.