John Harwood

CNBC Chief Washington Correspondent

John Harwood is chief Washington correspondent for CNBC and a political writer for The New York Times. He writes the weekly column "Political Memo" for the paper.

Harwood was born in Louisville, Ky., and grew up in the Maryland suburbs outside of the nation's capital. He has been around journalism and politics all his life; his first trip on a presidential campaign press plane came when he was 11 years old and accompanied his father, then a political reporter for The Washington Post.

While still in high school, he began his journalism career as a copy boy at The Washington Star. He studied history and economics at Duke University and graduated magna cum laude in 1978. Harwood subsequently joined The St. Petersburg Times, reporting on police, investigative projects, local government and politics. Later he became state capital correspondent in Tallahassee, Washington correspondent and political editor. While covering national politics, he also traveled extensively to South Africa, where he covered deepening unrest against the apartheid regime.

In 1989, Harwood was named a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University, where he spent the 1989-90 academic year. In 1991, he joined The Wall Street Journal as White House correspondent, covering the administration of the George H. W. Bush. Later Harwood reported on Congress. In 1997, he became The Wall Street Journal's Political Editor and chief political correspondent.

While at The Wall Street Journal, Harwood wrote the newspaper's political column, "Washington Wire," and oversaw the Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll. In March 2006, he joined CNBC as chief Washington correspondent.

In addition to CNBC, Harwood offers political analysis on NBC's "Meet the Press" and PBS' "Washington Week in Review," among other television and radio programs. Harwood has covered each of the last five presidential elections.

Follow John Harwood on Twitter @johnjharwood.


  • Curbing spending has become the new centerpiece of John McCain's 2008 presidential campaign--but not in the way the Arizona senator had hoped. Faced with lagging donations and down to just $2-million in cash, the one-time front-runner has laid off one third of his staff. That includes his top economics adviser, Douglas Holtz-Eakin. As former head of the Congressional Budget Office, Holtz-Eakin has underscored McCain's political appeal to economic conservatives; that he has the record and commitment to curb runaway federal spending.

  • Barack Obama's economics adviser Austan Goolsbee (see video link below), a professor at the University of Chicago, had another pursuit as an undergraduate at Yale. Goolsbee was part of an improv comedy group called Just Add Water. "We were actually pretty funny and even toured at Second City," Goolsbee says. As an economist, he dryly observes, he "wasn't necessarily the best guy in the group." But one of his colleagues made real headway in the business--and is now head writer on Jon Stewart's The Daily Show on Comedy Central. Lesson to Wall Street: be alert for hidden laugh lines in Obama economic speeches.

  • Obama Or Clinton: Who's The Real Front Runner? Monday, 2 Jul 2007 | 11:34 AM ET
    Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama

    Barack Obama's record-shattering fund raising performance in the second quarter raises a legitimate question: is Hillary Clinton really the Democratic front-runner after all? Obama didn't just outraise Clinton in the months April through June. He blew past her vaunted political machine with 50% more primary cash--$31-million to $21-million. He has amassed an enormous list of more than 250,000 donors, to whom he can return again and again before the primary season is over.

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