Skip to main content

Carlson, Margaret

Carlson, Margaret

PERSONAL: Children: one daughter. Education: Pennsylvania State University, B.A.; George Washington University Law School, law degree.

ADDRESSES: Agent—c/o Author Mail, Simon & Schuster, 1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020.

CAREER: Columnist, commentator, and editor. Esquire (magazine), Washington bureau chief; Washington Weekly, editor; Legal Times of Washington, editor; New Republic, managing editor; Time (magazine), on staff, 1988–, White House correspondent, then deputy Washington bureau chief, columnist, 1994–; commentator on Inside Politics and Capital Gang, both CNN.


Anyone Can Grow Up: How George Bush and I Made It to the White House, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 2003.

Author of How to Get Your Car Repaired without Getting Gypped; writer of "Public Eye" column for Time magazine.

SIDELIGHTS: Margaret Carlson, a familiar face on CNN's political talk shows Capital Gang and Inside Politics, has considerable experience as a commentator both on air and in print. She first came to Washington, DC, to attend law school. Her degree was financed in part by the sale of her best-selling paperback book How to Get Your Car Repaired without Getting Gypped, which she was inspired to write by working with consumer activist Ralph Nader. After taking positions with several notable publications, Carlson joined Time, and her first assignments were stories focused on the 1988 presidential campaign. In 1994, she became Time's first female columnist and has become one of Washington's most-respected insiders and an A-list hostess.

Carlson's memoir Anyone Can Grow Up: How George Bush and I Made It to the White House includes her columns, comments, and reflections. In the section titled "Presidential Material," she provides facts and figures and observations about the runs, terms, speeches, and private lives of candidates and winners, including U.S. presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. She evaluates speeches, personal attributes, and performances as well as behavior that sometimes passes under the media radar. Carlson includes commentary on presidential hopefuls such as Al Gore, Colin Powell, and John McCain, as well as others who have merely toyed with the idea, like Donald Trump. Carlson describes the quirks and foibles of the names in the headlines and the often shallow and corrupt nature of the political process. Michael A. Genovese wrote in Library Journal that "most of Carlson's essays stand the test of time and make for great reading."

Booklist critic Ilene Cooper felt that the "most interesting" sections are about Carlson's upbringing and family dynamics, which will "strike a sympathetic chord with most readers." In "Family Matters," Carlson provides her insights into personal issues, such as family relationships, women's balancing of work and family, feminism, sexual harassment, and abortion. She also comments on what it is like to be a woman in male-dominated Washington and on strong women in the news, including Martha Stewart. She also reflects on the death of Washington Post publisher Katharine Graham. "Carlson's ethical focus is on common decency and proportion," wrote a Kirkus Reviews contributor; "she sizes up matters and politicians as to their effect on the common weal."

Carl Sessions Stepp commented of the book in American Journalism Review that "some columns seem dated. But the best of them are perceptive and insightful. She specializes in the wicked left jab—a pithy punch that captures a large point." Topics include an assessment of why Nicole Simpson was not thought of as a "fallen hero" like O.J. Simpson, and the morphing of "stealth Cabinet member" Donald Rumsfeld into a media presence. A Publishers Weekly critic noted that "this collection is a fine expression of a strong career and an astute snapshot of the political headliners of the last decade."



Carlson, Margaret, Anyone Can Grow Up: How George Bush and I Made It to the White House, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 2003.


American Journalism Review, May, 2003, Carl Sessions Stepp, review of Anyone Can Grow Up, p. 64.

Booklist, March 15, 2003, Ilene Cooper, review of Anyone Can Grow Up, p. 1250.

Kirkus Reviews, March 15, 2003, review of Anyone Can Grow Up, p. 437.

Library Journal, April 1, 2003, Michael A. Genovese, review of Anyone Can Grow Up, p. 115.

Publishers Weekly, April 21, 2003, review of Anyone Can Grow Up, p. 50.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Carlson, Margaret." Contemporary Authors. . 21 Apr. 2019 <>.

"Carlson, Margaret." Contemporary Authors. . (April 21, 2019).

"Carlson, Margaret." Contemporary Authors. . Retrieved April 21, 2019 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.