7 July 1940
Brooklyn, New York, USA
The Los Angeles Times
|Spouse(s)||William Brooks Clift, Jr.
Tom Brazaitis (1989 - 2005†)
Eleanor Clift (born July 7, 1940) is a liberal political reporter, television pundit, and author. She is currently a contributing editor for Newsweek magazine and blogger for The Daily Beast. Her column, "Capitol Letter", is posted each week on the Newsweek and MSNBC websites. She is a regular panelist on the nationally syndicated show The McLaughlin Group, which she has compared to "a televised food fight". She is also a political contributor for the Fox News Channel.
Clift was born Eleanor Roeloffs in Brooklyn, New York, the daughter of German immigrants from the island of Föhr in the North Sea. She grew up in the Jackson Heights neighborhood of Queens, where her parents ran a deli in Sunnyside. Clift was raised a Lutheran and attended Hofstra University and Hunter College. She began her career as a secretary at Newsweek, and is one of the first female reporters to earn an internship from the secretary pool. She began her broadcast career on The Diane Rehm Show on WAMU-FM, Washington, D.C., as a Friday week-in-review panelist. She became known to listeners for her good-natured acceptance of ribbing from other panelists and callers to the program.
During the Clinton Administration, she was jokingly referred to as Eleanor "Rodham" Clift or Eleanor "Rodham Clifton," because of her fierce defense of Hillary Rodham Clinton and Bill Clinton. Clift has made some memorable comments on The McLaughlin Group:
- "The GAO will finally issue its report on the White House—the vandalizing of the White House in between the Clinton-Gore administration—Clinton and Bush administrations. (Laughter.) Well, it should have been the Gore administration." February 23, 2002.
- "But I think what we're coming to grips with is the fact that we actually have a mercenary Army, and it doesn't have a nice ring to it. We call it 'volunteers', but we're basically paying people to serve their country. And if you're going to pay people and have a mercenary Army, you're going to have to pay the market rate. And so the bounties are going up—more money for tuition, higher enlistment bonuses—and I think it's appropriate." August 27, 2005.
She has appeared in four movies. She played a talk show panel member in Rising Sun (1993), and appeared as herself in Dave (1993), Independence Day (1996) and Getting Away with Murder (1996). She was also recently portrayed by actress Mary Ann Burger in the 2009 film Watchmen.
In 2008, she wrote Two Weeks of Life: A Memoir of Love, Death, and Politics which intertwines the events of her own life and those of the nation concerning the Terri Schiavo case during a two-week period in March 2005. In it she examines the way people in the United States deal with death, publicity and personality. She wrote in the book, “Religion and politics are supposed to be separate.”
Clift's first marriage was to William Brooks Clift, Jr. (1919–1986), the brother of the actor Montgomery Clift. They had three sons: Edward Montgomery, Woodbury Blair, and Robert Anderson. In September 1989, she married Tom Brazaitis, a Washington columnist for the Cleveland Plain Dealer. They remained together until his death of kidney cancer on 30 March 2005.
- Clift, Eleanor (1996). War Without Bloodshed: The Art of Politics. New York: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 0-684-80084-5.
- Clift, Eleanor (2000). Madam President: Shattering the Last Glass Ceiling. New York: Scribner. ISBN 0-684-85619-0.
- Clift, Eleanor (2003). Founding Sisters and the Nineteenth Amendment. Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 0-471-42612-1.
- Clift, Eleanor (2004). Election 2004: How Bush Won and What You Can Expect in the Future. New York: PublicAffairs. ISBN 1-58648-293-9.
- Clift, Eleanor (2008). Two Weeks of Life: A Memoir of Love, Death, and Politics. New York: Basic Books. ISBN 0-465-00251-X.
- Eleanor Clift and Matthew Spieler (2012). Selecting a President. New York: Thomas Dunne Books. ISBN 978-1-250-00449-9
- Eleanor Clift's blogger's page on The Daily Beast
- Press Forum
- IWMF website http://www.iwmf.org/staff.aspx
- Clift, Eleanor (2009). Two Weeks of Life: A Memoir of Love, Death, and Politics. PublicAffairs. p. 39. ISBN 0-465-01280-9.
- Solomon, Deborah. "Questions for Eleanor Clift: Grande Dame", The New York Times, March 2, 2008. Accessed May 28, 2009. "Where are you from? I grew up in Jackson Heights, Queens, and my father had a deli, Roeloffs Deli, in Sunnyside."
- Norman, Michael (2008-04-02). "Eleanor Clift explores the personal and public sides of death in new memoir". The Plain Dealer. Retrieved 2010-03-09.
- Newsweek Reporter Asked to Apologize for 'Mercenary Army' Comment - 08/30/2005
- "Eisenhower and Clift Headline first W&J Energy Summit" (PDF). W&J Magazine. Washington & Jefferson College. Summer 2012. p. 11. Retrieved December 16, 2012.
- "William and Barbara Edwards Media Fellows by year". Hoover Institution. Retrieved 2011-10-27.
- Eleanor Clift (1 April 2005). "Eleanor Clift: Facing Death With Courage". Newsweek. Archived from the original on 2005-04-06. Retrieved 2008-10-11.
- mediabistro.com: FishbowlDC
- Eleanor Clift official website
- Eleanor Clift at the Internet Movie Database
- Booknotes interview with Clift and Brazaitas on War Without Bloodshed: The Art of Politics, August 25, 1996.