Jon Stewart’s interview with Paula Broadwell, David Petraeus’ mistress, on The Daily Show in January was more than a little awkward.
David Petraeus stepped down Friday after confessing to cheating on his wife of 37 years, Holly – calling his behavior “unacceptable” for a senior administration official.
But before all that, back in January, biographer-turned-mistress Paula Broadwell appeared on the show to pitch her book All In.
About three and a half minutes into the clip, Jon Stewart and Paula Broadwell talk about how the two got chummy while in Afghanistan.
While embedded, said Paula Broadwell, she and David Petraeus would go running in the mountainous Afghanistan capital of Kabul while interviewing Petreaus for her book.
But it started in Washington, D.C.
“I was among the students invited by the school to meet with the general at a dinner afterward, because of my military background,” she explained.
“I introduced myself to then–Lieutenant General Petraeus and told him about my research interests; he gave me his card and offered to put me in touch with other researchers and service members working on the same issues.”
Paula Broadwell added that this was not a one-off as he often “does a lot of mentoring”.
As she pursued her PhD in public policy in 2008, Paula Broadwell contacted David Petraeus to ask if she could interview him and they kept in touch via email.
“A few months into my research, General Petraeus, who was then leading Central Command, invited me to go for a run with him and his team along the Potomac River during one of his visits to Washington,” she wrote.
“I figured I could interview him while we ran.”
She explained that, after earning varsity letters in cross-country and indoor and outdoor track, she wanted to test him to see if he could keep up with her as she interviewed him.
“Instead it became a test for me,” Paula Broadwell she said.
“As we talked during the run from the Pentagon to the Washington Monument and back, Petraeus progressively increased the pace until the talk turned to heavy breathing and we reached a six-minute-per-mile pace. It was a signature Petraeus move.”
She insisted that these mile-long runs together were nothing out of the ordinary.
“This is a typical mechanism for him to get to know young people,” she said.
“He’s done it throughout his life. That was the foundation of our relationship.”
Jon Stewart then asks if other people in his embed “resent [David Petraeus’] success” and reputation.
“He realizes he’s seen as an extremely ambitious individual. You want somebody who’s ambitious and driven, and who has a will to win. … He goes all-in to what he does.”
Apparently, Paula Broadwell, 40, goes “all in”, too.
Ambition is also second-nature to Paula Broadwell, who practically strives out loud.
According to her book, Paula Broadwell received a degree in political geography and systems engineering from West Point, where she was ranked No. 1 over all in fitness in her class. In high school, she was valedictorian and homecoming queen. She’s even been model for a machine gun manufacturer, reported The New York Times.
“I was driven when I was younger,” Paula Broadwell was quoted as saying on her official Web site, which was taken down Friday.
“Driven at West Point where it was much more competitive in that women were competing with men on many levels, and I was driven in the military and at Harvard, both competitive environments.
“But now, as a working mother of two, I realize it is more difficult to compete in certain areas. I think it is important for working moms to recognize that family is the most important.”
In her biography on the Penguin Speakers Bureau Web site says that she is a research associate at Harvard’s Center for Public Leadership and a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of War Studies at King’s College London. She received a master’s in public administration from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.
A self-described “soccer mom” and an Ironman triathlete, Paula Broadwell became a fixture on the Washington media scene after the publication of her book about David Petraeus. In a Twitter message this summer, she bragged about appearing on a panel at the Aspen Institute, a policy group.
“Heading 2 @AspenInstitute 4 the Security Forum tomorrow! Panel (media & terrorism) followed by a 1v1 run with Lance Armstrong,” she wrote.
At six minutes into the chat, Paula Broadwell brings up her husband, Dr. Scott Broadwell, when discussing whether or not David Petreaus would run for president.
“My husband wants me to say he is, because it’ll sell more books,” she says.
“I’m sorry, honey! I couldn’t do it!”
“That was the most awesome sellout I’ve ever seen in my life,” Jon Stewart says.
“So integrity’s running in the whole family, I guess.”
Jon Stewart summed up Paula Broadwell’s book by saying: “I would say the real controversy here is, is he awesome or incredibly awesome?”
A short time later, according to The New York Times, Paula Broadwell challenged Jon Stewart to a push-up contest, which she won handily. Jon Stewart had to pay $1,000 to a veterans’ support group for each push-up she did beyond his total. Paula Broadwell said that he wrote a check for $20,000 on the spot.