Donna Brazile

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Donna Brazile
Donna Brazile 1.JPG
Vice Chairwoman of the
Democratic National Committee
Incumbent
Assumed office
January 21, 2009
Chair Tim Kaine
Debbie Wasserman Schultz
Chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee
Acting
In office
April 5, 2011 – May 4, 2011
Preceded by Tim Kaine
Succeeded by Debbie Wasserman Schultz
Member of the board of directors of the Louisiana Recovery Authority
In office
October 18, 2005 – January 21, 2009
Governor Kathleen Blanco
Bobby Jindal
Personal details
Born (1959-12-15) December 15, 1959 (age 54)
Kenner, Louisiana
Nationality United States
Political party Democratic Party
Residence Washington, D. C.
Occupation Political strategist
Religion Roman Catholic[1]
Website Brazile & Associates

Donna Brazile (born December 15, 1959)[2] is an American author, academic, and political analyst who is Vice Chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee. She was the first African American to direct a major presidential campaign, acting as campaign manager for Al Gore in 2000. She briefly served as interim Chair for the DNC in the spring of 2011. She has also made several TV appearances as herself in the TV Drama The Good Wife

Education[edit]

Donna Brazile earned a bachelor's degree in industrial psychology from Louisiana State University in 1981, and is a Fellow at the Institute of Politics at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.

Early life[edit]

Brazile was born in Kenner, Louisiana, to Lionel and Jean Brazile, the third of nine children. She became interested in politics at the age of nine when a local candidate for office promised to build a neighborhood playground. She participated in a TRIO Upward Bound program while in high school. After graduating from Louisiana State University, Brazile worked for several advocacy groups in Washington, D.C., and was instrumental in the successful campaign to make Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday a federal holiday.

Political strategist[edit]

Brazile has worked on several presidential campaigns for Democratic candidates, including Jimmy CarterWalter Mondale in 1976 and 1980, Jesse Jackson in 1984, Walter Mondale–Geraldine Ferraro in 1984, and for Richard Gephardt in the 1988 Democratic primary.

After Gephardt lost the primary in 1988, Brazile served as deputy field director of the Michael Dukakis general election campaign. On October 20, 1988, she made headlines by telling a group of reporters that George H. W. Bush needed to "fess up" about unsubstantiated rumors of an extramarital affair.

Said Brazile, "The American people have every right to know if Barbara Bush will share that bed with him in the White House."[3] The Dukakis campaign immediately disavowed her remarks and Dukakis fired her from his campaign staff shortly after the story broke.[4] Four years later, the same issue, the relationship of George H.W. Bush and Jennifer Fitzgerald, would be briefly rehashed during the 1992 campaign against Bill Clinton, who had his own extramarital affair rumors.

In the 1990s, Brazile served as Chief of Staff and Press Secretary to Congressional Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton of the District of Columbia, where she helped guide the District's budget and local legislation on Capitol Hill. She also served as an advisor for Bill Clinton's campaign for the presidency in 1992 and for re-election in 1996.

In 1999, Brazile was appointed deputy campaign manager and was later promoted to campaign manager of the 2000 presidential campaign of Vice-President Al Gore, becoming the first African-American woman to manage a presidential campaign.

Democratic National Committee service[edit]

After the post-election fight over votes in the 2000 United States presidential election in Florida, Brazile was appointed Chair of the Democratic National Committee's Voting Rights Institute. In the 2008 election, she served as a superdelegate for her work for Bill Clinton and Al Gore.

As a delegate for the Democratic National Convention, Brazile consistently refrained from declaring her preferred Democratic presidential candidate. In an interview with political satirist Stephen Colbert, Brazile stated, "Look, I'm a woman, so I like Hillary. I'm black; I like Obama. But I'm also grumpy, so I like John McCain."[5]

For several weeks in the spring of 2011, she served as interim Chair of the Democratic National Committee. As Vice-Chair of the DNC, she led the organization during the transition between outgoing Chair Tim Kaine, who resigned to run for the U.S. Senate, and his successor, Florida Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who was not permitted to ascend to the post until at least fifteen days after being nominated on April 5, 2011.[6] Following Wasserman-Schultz' installation as DNC Chair, Brazile returned to her post as vice-chair.

2008 presidential election[edit]

The 2008 Democratic presidential primaries in Florida and Michigan initially caused the delegates from these two states to be disqualified from being seated at the Democratic Convention due to the states moving their primaries against DNC Party rules.[7][8] Brazile stated, "We need to send a message that you can't defy the rules," adding, "I have pissed off just about every state in my career."[9]

At the Rules Committee meeting to decide on the final allocations for these states she was quoted: "My momma taught me to play by the rules and respect those rules. My mother taught me, and I'm sure your mother taught you, that when you decide to change the rules, middle of the game, end of the game, that is referred to as cheating." [10]

She was strongly critical of the Stupak-Pitts Amendment, which places limits on taxpayer-funded abortions in the context of the November 2009 Affordable Health Care for America Act.[11]

University teaching and affiliations[edit]

Brazile also served as a lecturer at the University of Maryland, College Park, a fellow at Harvard University's Institute of Politics, and is an Adjunct Professor of Women and Gender Studies at Georgetown University. She is member of the advisory board of the Washington & Lee University Mock Convention.

Commentator and author[edit]

Brazile is a weekly contributor and political commentator on CNN's The Situation Room and American Morning and in CNN's Election Coverage. In addition, she is a contributing writer for Ms. Magazine and was a columnist for Roll Call. Brazile is also founder and managing director of Brazile and Associates and a contributor to NPR's Political Corner and ABC News. In 2004, Simon and Schuster published Cooking With Grease, Brazile's memoir of her life and work in politics. Brazile also guest-starred in three episodes of The Good Wife as herself. She also guest-starred in one episode of House of Cards as herself.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Rosenthal, Elisabeth. "The Fine Arts of Food and Politics, From a Gore Veteran", The New York Times (May 31, 2004). Retrieved on March 4, 2008.
  2. ^ "Donna Brazile: Born for politics". USA Today. May 23, 2000. Retrieved 2010-05-01. 
  3. ^ Moore, Keith (October 11, 1999), "Down in the Trenches." Spy.
  4. ^ Sanders, Joshunda (July 4, 2004). "State's Dems still hope for a bit of suspense / A contested primary is viewed as a plus for party". The San Francisco Chronicle. 
  5. ^ "donna brazile weighs in on the presidential race". North Texas Liberal. May 3, 2008. Retrieved 2008-05-09. 
  6. ^ Thompson, Krissah (April 6, 2010). "Donna Brazile to serve as interim DNC chair". North Texas Liberal. Retrieved 2010-04-06. 
  7. ^ "The DNC Strips Michigan of Delegates". The Atlantic. December 1, 2007. Retrieved 2008-09-05. 
  8. ^ Shear, Michael D. (August 26, 2007). "DNC Strips Florida of 2008 Delegates". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2008-09-05. 
  9. ^ "Donna Brazile cuts loose on 2008 campaign". PoliticsWest. February 29, 2008. Retrieved 2008-09-05. 
  10. ^ "Quote of the day". MSNBC. Retrieved 2009-02-04. 
  11. ^ Brazile: Stupak Amendment: 'Outlaws Abortion'

External links[edit]


Political offices
New title Member of the Board of Directors of the Louisiana Recovery Authority
2005–2009
Incumbent
Party political offices
Preceded by
Susan Turnbull
Vice Chairman of the Democratic National Committee
2009–
Served alongside: Raymond Buckley, Debbie Wasserman Schultz,
Linda Chavez-Thompson, and Mike Honda
Incumbent
Preceded by
Lottie Shackelford
Preceded by
Mark Brewer