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Eleanor  Clift

Eleanor Clift

Washington Correspondent for the Daily Beast


A Washington correspondent for the Daily Beast, Eleanor Clift writes about politics and policy in Washington and the partisan clashes that result from divided government. She previously worked for Newsweek, where she covered a variety of beats and was a key member of the magazine’s election team. After Newsweek merged with the Daily Beast under the editorial direction of the legendary editor Tina Brown, Clift wrote for both publications. Her cover story about the television show, Mad Men, won acclaim for capturing the era when women were relegated to the secretarial pool. Read More >

Having covered every presidential campaign since 1976, she brings her unique perspective to the current election process, analyzing the contest between a beleaguered incumbent and an opposition party torn between traditional economic conservatives and the upstart Tea Party. Clift was part of Newsweek’s special project team following the 1984, 2000, 2004, and 2008 elections, each of which resulted in a book. The most recent, A Long Time Coming, written by Evan Thomas and based on the Newsweek team’s reporting, chronicles the history-making campaign of Barack Obama.

She is a regular panelist on the syndicated talk show, The McLaughlin Group, and regularly comments about politics on MSNBC. She has appeared as herself in several movies, including DaveIndependence DayMurder at 1600Rising Sun, and the CBS series Murphy Brown.

Along with her late husband, Tom Brazaitis, who was a columnist for the Cleveland Plain Dealer, she wrote War Without Bloodshed: The Art of Politics (Scribner, 1996) and Madam President: Shattering the Last Glass Ceiling (Scribner, 2000). Her book Founding Sisters discusses the passage of the 19th amendment, which gave women the vote (John Wiley & Sons, 2003). A poignant and deeply personal account, Two Weeks of Life: A Memoir of Love, Death and Politics (Basic Books, 2008) is about the loss of her husband paired with an examination of how we deal with death in America. Her most recent book, Selecting a President, written with Matthew Spieler (Thomas Dunne Books) was published in May 2012.

Clift lives in Washington, DC, where she is on the advisory council of the International Women’s Media Foundation, the board of the Center for Politics and Journalism, and the Board of Governors of the National Hospice Foundation. Read Less ^

Speech Topics

Founding Sisters: The 100th Birthday of the 19th Amendment

Based on her 2003 novel, Founding Sisters and the Nineteenth Amendment, Eleanor Clift discusses the 100th birthday of the 19th Amendment. In this powerful speech, Clift dives into the struggle for women’s suffrage and how this right continues to impact politics today. She addresses the influence of women in politics and the 2020 election calling upon her expertise from years as a political reporter.

Inside Washington

Eleanor Clift tailors this wonderfully vast topic to the client’s needs, discussing the issue of the day or the personality who has emerged in our fast-paced news environment. After all, Clift is a reporter who relishes an assignment.

First Ladies: Style & Substance

Michelle Obama fully understands the power of her platform and is using it to convey the priorities and values she shares with her husband. Her campaign against childhood obesity and the garden she planted on the South Lawn as a teaching tool for inner-city kids touch on important issues yet steer clear of controversy, which is how Obama, a Princeton -and Harvard- educated lawyer, navigates the line between style and substance. Read More >

Eleanor Clift discusses the contrast between a first lady like Nancy Reagan, who operated quite skillfully behind the scenes to bolster her husband, and Hillary Clinton, whose attempt to openly formulate healthcare policy helped cost her husband control of Congress. Read Less ^

End of Life Care

With people living longer and needing more assistance if they want to remain in their homes, the issue of how we care for ourselves and those we love is gaining greater urgency. Eleanor Clift is on the governor’s board of the National Hospice Foundation and can talk about these challenges from a professional and personal perspective, having cared for her husband at home with hospice when he was dying of cancer.

Women & Politics: Shattering the Last Glass Ceiling

Hillary Clinton didn't win the presidency, dashing the hopes of a generation of women. And unless Governor Romney pulls a major surprise, there won’t be a woman on either major party ticket in 2012.

Hillary Clinton may have one more race to run, but in the meantime, both Republicans and Democrats are building bench strength. Elizabeth Warren, if she wins a Senate seat in Massachusetts, will be talked about as a potential presidential candidate. Hillary’s successor in the senate, Kirsten Gillebrand—also a possible presidential candidate—has launched a PAC to raise money for women candidates. Republicans, who have lagged behind in diversity, are catching up with women governors (Susana Martinez and Nikki Haley) and a promising new senator from New Hampshire (Kelly Ayotte).

From suffrage to sexism, Eleanor Clift looks at the obstacles that remain and how to shatter the last glass ceiling.

The Future of Healthcare Policy

Republicans campaigned on a promise to repeal the Affordable Care Act, but how likely is that? And how would the GOP maintain aspects of the reform legislation that people like without keeping the bill intact? How serious is the talk among red state governors and legislators of not complying with Obamacare now that most of it has been constitutionally upheld by the Supreme Court? Read More >

Eleanor Clift addresses these questions and more in this fascinating and ever-relevant keynote, analyzing how the Affordable Care Act will affect hospitals, insurance companies, and other healthcare institutions. Read Less ^