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After Dinner Speaker | Current Events | Moderator | Media | Politics
A journalistic trailblazer, Eleanor Clift takes her audiences along the corridors of power for an insider's view of the ambitious Obama agenda, legislative intrigue within the Democratic Party, and the re-branding of a Republican Party trying to make it relevant after losing the White House and both houses of Congress. The partisan struggles sparked by rising deficit spending, two wars, and a collapse of the financial sector are history in the making along with the election of the first African-American president and a Democratic majority able to muscle through pretty much what it wants. She has a front row seat, drawing on relationships with many of the key players and sharing the dreams and disappointments of a vibrant democratic process.
Ms. Clift shares stories gleaned from decades of political reporting and provides a fresh, entertaining, and informative overview of what is happening in the nation's capital. She tailors her remarks to the concerns of the particular audience, and is also an outstanding moderator.
Eleanor Clift began her career as a secretary to Newsweek Magazine's national affairs editor in New York. She was one of the first women at the magazine to move from secretary to reporter. As a reporter in Newsweek's Atlanta bureau, she covered Jimmy Carter's bid for the presidency, becoming Newsweek's White House correspondent, a position she held until 1985.
Ms. Clift left Newsweek briefly in 1985 to serve as White House correspondent for the Los Angeles Times. She returned to Newsweek the following year to cover the Iran-Contra scandal, which tarnished the Ronald Reagan White House. She served as congressional and political correspondent for six years, and was a key member of the magazine's 1992 election team, following the campaign of Bill Clinton from its start to inauguration day. In June 1992 she was named deputy Washington bureau chief. She became a contributing editor in 1994 with a wide portfolio that included writing opinion columns. She worked on Newsweek's special election issues in 2000, 2004, and 2008, covering the Democratic contenders. Her column, "Capitol Letter," is posted each Friday on Newsweek.com.
Eleanor Clift and her late husband, Tom Brazaitis, a columnist for the Plain Dealer newspaper in Cleveland, co-wrote two books, War Without Bloodshed: The Art of Politics, and Madam President: Shattering the Last Glass Ceiling. Madam President offers a forward-looking history of women in politics, providing a background of female political history from the earliest days of female political influence to the present day political environment where women play a crucial part in political leadership and support. Her subsequent book, Founding Sisters, about women's suffrage and the 19th Amendment, was published in 2003. Her most recent book, Two Weeks of Life: A Memoir of Love, Death and Politics, tells the story of her husband's quiet death at home from cancer and her parallel experience of reporting and commenting on Terri Schiavo, a young brain-damaged woman whose right to die sparked a national debate. The two deaths occurred within a day of each other.
Ms. Clift is a panelist on the volatile The McLaughlin Group and provides Sunday morning commentary for MSNBC. A Washington icon in her own right, she has appeared as herself in the feature films Dave, Rising Sun, Independence Day, Murder at 1600, and the TV comedy Murphy Brown. She serves on four non-profit boards: The International Women's Media Foundation, The Center for Politics and Journalism, The National Hospice Foundation, and Student Association for Voter Empowerment (SAVE).
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