She is the NBC News Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent, and reported on the 2008 Race for the White House for NBC News broadcasts, including NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt, Today, and MSNBC. She anchors Andrea Mitchell Reports airing from 12:00 noon to 1:00 p.m. ET weekdays on MSNBC, has appeared on and guest hosted Meet the Press, and is often a guest on Hardball with Chris Matthews and The Rachel Maddow Show.
Mitchell was raised in a Jewish family, in New Rochelle, New York, the daughter of Cecile and Sydney Mitchell. Her father was the chief executive officer and partial owner of a furniture manufacturing company in Manhattan; he was also the president of Beth El Synagogue in New Rochelle for 40 years. Her mother was an administrator at the New York Institute of Technology in Manhattan. Her brother Arthur moved to Canada in the 1970s, in order to avoid the draft in the US, becoming a member of the Legislative Assembly of Yukon and the leader of the Yukon Liberal Party in the 2000s.
Mitchell graduated from New Rochelle High School. She went on to receive a Bachelor of Arts degree in English literature from the University of Pennsylvania in 1967, where she served as news director of student radio station WXPN. She stayed in Philadelphia after graduation, hired as a reporter at KYW radio. Mitchell rose to prominence as the station's City Hall correspondent, and also reported for sister station KYW-TV.
She moved to CBS-affiliate WTOP (now WUSA) in Washington, D.C., in 1976. Two years later, Mitchell moved to NBC's network news operation, where she served as a general correspondent. In 1979, she was named the NBC News energy correspondent and reported on the late-1970s energy crisis and the Three Mile Island nuclear accident. Mitchell also covered the White House from 1981 until becoming chief congressional correspondent in 1988.
Mitchell has been with NBC News since 1978.
She has been the Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent for NBC News since November 1994. Previously, she had served as Chief White House Correspondent (1993–1994) and Chief Congressional Correspondent (1988–1992) for NBC News.
In 2005, Mitchell published a book titled Talking Back... to Presidents, Dictators, and Assorted Scoundrels (ISBN 978-0-143-03873-3), chronicling her work as a journalist.
Since 2008, Mitchell has hosted a program on NBC's news and commentary channel MSNBC titled Andrea Mitchell Reports. It broadcasts weekdays at 12:00 noon ET.
A report in The Washington Post ("Bush Administration Is Focus of Inquiry CIA Agent's Identity Was Leaked to Media" by Mike Allen and Dana Priest, The Washington Post, September 28, 2003) that Mitchell had leaked Valerie Plame's identity led to her being questioned by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. While Mitchell never appeared before the investigating grand jury or in I. Lewis Libby's trial, she was on the subpoena list as a person of interest.
In October 2003, on the Capitol Report, Mitchell made a statement which Libby's defense construed to mean it was widely known among journalists that Joe Wilson's wife was in the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), a position she later clarified by answering the question of how widely known it was in Washington that Wilson's wife worked for the CIA: "It was widely known amongst those of us who cover the intelligence community and who were actively engaged in trying to track down who among the foreign service community was the envoy to Niger. But frankly I wasn't aware of her actual role at the CIA and the fact that she had a covert role involving weapons of mass destruction, not until Bob Novak wrote it."
During a July 2005 news conference in Khartoum, Mitchell was forcibly ejected from a room after asking Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir some pointed questions. They included: "Can you tell us why the violence is continuing?" (referring to genocide in Sudan's Darfur province) and "Can you tell us why the government is supporting the militias?" "Why should Americans believe your promises?" At this point two armed security guards grabbed her and forcibly shoved her out of the room.
After the incident Mitchell said, "It is our job to ask. They can always say 'no comment'… but to drag a reporter out just for asking is inexcusable behavior."
Prior to the incident, Sudanese officials expressed reservations about allowing American newspaper or television reporters to join the Sudanese press pool. Sean McCormack, the U.S. State Department's assistant secretary for public affairs, said to his Sudanese counterpart, "I'll convey your desires about not permitting reporters to ask questions, but that's all I'll do. We have a free press." McCormack's Sudanese counterpart replied, "There is no freedom of the press here."
During an appearance on MSNBC on June 5, 2008, Mitchell referred to the voters of the southwest Virginia region as rednecks. On June 9, she apologized on air, saying "I owe an apology to the good people of Bristol, Virginia, for something stupid that I said last week. I was trying to explain, based on reporting from Democratic strategists, why Barack Obama was campaigning in southwest Virginia, but without attribution or explanation, I used a term strategists often use to demean an entire community. No excuses, I'm really sorry."
Having been led to believe that a clip showed that Presidential candidate Mitt Romney was impressed by a touchscreen at a Wawa convenience store, Mitchell and contributor Chris Cillizza laughed when it was shown on Andrea Mitchell Reports, alluding to a widely held myth that George H.W. Bush was unfamiliar with a supermarket scanner in an incident during his 1992 campaign. She suggested this might be Romney's "supermarket scanner moment." She also stated, "I get the feeling that Mitt Romney has not been in too many Wawas along the roadside of Pennsylvania." The full clip puts his comments in the context of his claim that Wawa's "touchtone keypads" (touchscreens) show efficiency in the private sector compared to his statement that it took multiple filings of a 33-page government form for an optometrist to change his address.
Mitchell briefly addressed complaints from the Republican National Committee and Romney's campaign the following day. Introducing the full clip, Mitchell stated, "The RNC and the campaign both reached out to us, saying that Romney had more to say on that visit about federal bureaucracy and innovation in the private sector. We didn't get a chance to play that, so here it is now."
She married her second husband, former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, twenty years her senior, on April 6, 1997, following a lengthy relationship. Previously, she was married to Gil Jackson; that marriage ended in divorce in the mid-1970s.
On September 7, 2011, Mitchell revealed that she had been diagnosed with breast cancer during a doctor's visit a few weeks earlier. It was caught early and treated.