During not-as-frequent-as-he-would-like visits to his Singer Island condominium, one might find the man described by financial author James Glassman as “the best interviewer on TV, period” chilling out on his beachfront balcony.
“I just like to disengage,” says Neil Cavuto, senior vice president, managing editor and anchor at the FOX News Channel and FOX Business Network in New York City. “There just seems to be a relaxed nature to the whole area.”
In an exlusive interview, Cavuto talks politics, Florida and more.
Reflecting on your 30-year anniversary as a journalist, do you remember why you got into the field?
My intention was to be a priest. It’s a long and sordid story, and I ended up going into journalism. After one and a half years, I abandoned the [idea of being a priest]. My Irish mom was upset, but my father said, “Good. There is no money in it.”
How do you think Florida is faring economically?
Obviously, Florida’s come back from the death throes of the real estate meltdown. Florida has some things going for it that, I believe, helped it weather the blows. It has the ocean. … It has the tourism industry … it is a major draw for people, as it should be. Florida’s been a remarkable turnaround.
What does Florida’s gubernatorial race portend for 2016?
[Whichever party] wins Florida wins the presidency. I think Florida’s grown to that kind of importance. Having a little place in Florida myself, I see it. I see how closely divided the state is. Florida is sort of like an incubator for the nation. What you see going on, I think, is very representative of the country as a whole. It’s as close to a 50-50 state as they come.
What is your most memorable career moment?
I would say the ongoing coverage of 9/11, as many of those who had died in 9/11 had been guests on my show. Maybe because I knew the area so well, knew so many of the people so well … That ongoing story was the most compelling and the most moving, and being down there covering from there, there was just nothing like it.
Can you describe your bouts with cancer and multiple sclerosis?
My cancer was pretty bad – stage four Hodgkin’s. I wasn’t given much time. I survived it. Less than a decade later, I’m diagnosed with MS. It happened. I can’t change fate. I can’t change what I’m dealing with. We sometimes think our problems surmount all of the others, and I can remember after the MS diagnosis, when I wouldn’t take calls. … When I sat down and called everyone back … they all had stories that were much more tragic than mine. It was all of these guys’ stories about how they had come back and, despite all of them coming from great wealth, they discovered something that was that much more valuable than money.