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Jacob (Jake) Paul Tapper was born on March 12, 1969 in New York City. He was raised in Queen Village, Philadelphia. His mother, Helen Anne was originally Canadian but was raised in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. She was a retired psychiatric nurse. Jake's father, Theodore "Ted" Tapper, was from Chicago and became president of South Philadelphia Pediatrics. Jake's father was born into a Jewish family, and his mother converted to Judaism after being raised as Presbyterian. Jake, also, was raised Jewish.
Jake attended Akiba Hebrew Academy, an independent Jewish day school in Merion, Pennsylvania before attending Dartmouth College, his father's alma mater. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa and magna cum laude with an A.B. in History and Visual Studies in 1991. During college Jake was a member of Alpha Chi Alpha fraternity. He also briefly attended the USC School of Cinematic Arts.
Immediately after graduation, in 1992, Jake served as the Campaign Press Secretary for Marjorie Margolies-Mezvinsky, the Democratic congressional candidate. In 1997 he briefly worked for Handgun Control, Inc., which is now known as the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence.
In 1998 Jake began his full-time journalism career. He was Senior Writer for the Washington City Paper for two years, for which he won a Society of Professional Journalists award. From 1999 to 2002 he served as the Washington Correspondent for Salon.com.
In 2001, he began hosting the news talk show Take Five on CNN, which centered on the discussion of politics and pop culture with young journalists. He contributed to TALK Magazine, The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, and The Weekly Standard. His work was included in National Public Radio's "The Best American Political Writing 2002" list. Jake began working for ABC News in 2003. He covered the levee break during Hurricane Katrina and also spent time reporting from Afghanistan. Jake's contributions to World News Tonight with Peter Jennings won the 2005 Edward R. Murrow Award for best network newscast.
On November 5, 2008, the day after the 2008 presidential election, Jake was named the Senior White House Correspondent. He won the Merriman Smith Memorial Award in 2010, 2011, and 2012 by the White House Correspondent's Association for his presidential coverage under deadline pressure. He was awarded an Emmy for Outstanding Live Coverage of a Current News Story for his ABC News coverage of the inauguration of President Obama. He interviewed President Obama several times during the course of his career, in addition to CIA director Leon Panetta, Vice President Biden, White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, retired General Colin Powell, former Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, House Minority Leader John Boehner, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. He also interviewed Republican presidential nominee Senator John McCain as well as John Edwards, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliana, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney.
Jake announced that he would be joining CNN on December 20, 2012. In January 2013 he began hosting his own program, The Lead with Jake Tapper. The show won three National headliner Awards for its reporting that year. It won first prize for its coverage of the Boston Marathon bombing and second prize for its coverage of the Oklahoma tornadoes.
Jake moderated two Republican primary debates on September 16, 2015. The main debate became the most watched program in the history of CNN and the second most watched primary debate in history, drawing approximately 23.1 million viewers. He also moderated the March 10, 2016 debate which drew almost 12 million viewers.
In June of 2015, Jake began hosting CNN's Sunday political show, State of the Union with Jake Tapper. The show became well known for Jake's tough interviews with various politicians including challenging Senator Bernie Sanders to release his tax returns, asking Jeb Bush why Hillary Clinton is responsible for Benghazi if his brother George W. Bush was not responsible for the terrorist attacks on 9/11, asking Hillary Clinton about the emails on her private server and following FBI investigation, and asking Donald Trump if he would denounce support from the Ku Klux Klan and other white supremacists.
Jake created the comic strip Capitol Hell from 1994 to 2003 and also created cartoons for The American Spectator, the Los Angeles Times, and the Philadelphia Inquirer. Jake's first novel, The Hellfire Club, was published on April 24, 2018 by Little, Brown and Company. It's a political thriller set in 1950's Washington. It debuted at Number 3 on the New York Times Best-Seller List for Hardcover fiction, and was placed on the list for a total of four weeks. A film adaptation, The Outpost, will star Milo Gibson, Orlando Bloom, Scott Eastwood, and Caleb Landry Jones. Jake has also written Down and Dirty: The Plot to Steal the Presidency based ont he 2000 Presidential election. His novel The Outpost: An Untold Story of American Valor, debuted at number 10 on the New York Times best seller's list for hardback non-fiction and earned him the Tex McCrary Award for Excellence in Journalism from the Congressional Medal of Honor Society in 2014.
Jake won the Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Political Journalism in 2017, among a number of other awards. In 2018 he was awarded a Vetty for his coverage of veteran's issues. The proceeds for The Outpost, the film adaptation of his novel, will be donated to a number of veteran's charities.
Joe Walsh, a former Republican congressman from Illinois, said of Jake: "He and I probably disagree on damn near every issue. But having said that, I don't think there's anybody more fair and objective in what we call the mainstream media." An editor and writer for the New York Times, Bari Weiss, added "[Jake] is one of the few people who's generally watched and respected, at least in my world, by people across the political spectrum."
Jake states "Probably like a lot of people, my personal politics are all over the map. I'm not a member of a political party, and I feel very, very comfortable being independent."
Jake was married in 2006 to Jennifer Marie Brown. They met in 2004 while covering he was covering the Presidential campaign. Jennifer is a former field manager for Planned Parenthood and she currently volunteers her time to reading to primary students in Washington D.C. where her family resides. Jake and Jennifer have two children of their own, Alice and Jack.
Jake's Twitter account, @jaketapper, has 1.9 million followers. His Facebook, @JakeTapper, has over 128,000 followers. His Instagram, @jaketapper, has over 34,400 followers. His official website can be found at http://www.jaketapper.com.
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