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Andrea Mitchell credits Judy Woodruff with saving her TV career

The Hill logo The Hill 10/11/2018 Judy Kurtz
a man and a woman sitting on a bench: Andrea Mitchell credits Judy Woodruff with saving her TV career © Getty Images Andrea Mitchell credits Judy Woodruff with saving her TV career Andrea Mitchell credits Judy Woodruff with rescuing her "from oblivion" after a goof led her to almost being banned from television decades ago.

"I recently celebrated 40 years at NBC," Mitchell, the network's chief foreign affairs correspondent, said during a talk Wednesday with Woodruff at the Capital Hilton in downtown Washington.

Woodruff was being honored by the Kennedy Krieger Instititute for her advocacy work for children with pediatric brain disorders. The "PBS NewsHour" anchor's son, Jeffrey, suffered a traumatic brain injury two decades ago.

Mitchell recalled an on-air snafu in 1981 while covering the attempted assassination of then-President Reagan.

"I was supposedly covering the movement of John Hinckley by helicopter from where he had been held to the courthouse downtown. Some anchor asked me what did I see, and I was at least a mile and a half away from the event and I absolutely froze," Mitchell, 71, told the audience.

Following the freeze-up, Mitchell said, "The then-president of NBC banned me from television."

"We're going to get rid of her as soon as we can. Let's never see her again," Mitchell said the network exec said.

According to Mitchell, Woodruff, then NBC News's White House correspondent, "piped up with, 'We'll take her at the White House.' I sort of became the extra hand doing radio, any pick-up job."

"I never would have had this career if Judy had not rescued me from oblivion," Mitchell contended.

"Slight exaggeration," Woodruff, 71, exclaimed.

"Totally true story," Mitchell replied.

Also eyed at the VIP event: Mitchell's husband, former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan; Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson, Bloomberg News's Al Hunt, and Special Olympics Chairman Tim Shriver.

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