|Chair of the Democratic National Committee|
July 28, 2016 – February 25, 2017
|Preceded by||Debbie Wasserman Schultz|
|Succeeded by||Tom Perez|
April 5, 2011 – May 4, 2011
|Preceded by||Tim Kaine|
|Succeeded by||Debbie Wasserman Schultz|
Donna Lease Brazile
December 15, 1959
New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.
|Education||Louisiana State University (BA)|
Donna Lease Brazile (//; born December 15, 1959) is an American political strategist, campaign manager and political analyst who served twice as acting Chair of the Democratic National Committee (DNC). She is currently a Fox News contributor, and was previously a CNN contributor until her resignation in October 2016, after leaking CNN's debate questions to Hillary Clinton's campaign in the 2016 United States presidential election.
A member of the Democratic Party, Brazile was the first African American woman to direct a major presidential campaign, acting as campaign manager for Al Gore in 2000. She has also worked on several presidential campaigns for Democratic candidates, including Jesse Jackson and Walter Mondale–Geraldine Ferraro in 1984, and for Dick Gephardt in the 1988 Democratic primary. She served as the acting chair of the Democratic National Committee in spring 2011, and again from July 2016 to February 2017.
Brazile was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, the daughter of Jean Marie (Brown) and Lionel Joseph Brazile, the third of nine children. Her family's surname was "Braswell" several generations back. Brazile 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. Brazile earned a bachelor's degree in industrial psychology from Louisiana State University (LSU) in 1981, and was a fellow at the Institute of Politics at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government. After graduating from LSU, Brazile worked for several advocacy groups in Washington, D.C., and was reportedly instrumental in the successful campaign to make Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday a federal holiday.
Brazile has worked on several presidential campaigns for Democratic candidates, including Jesse Jackson in 1984, Walter Mondale–Geraldine Ferraro in 1984, and Dick 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." The Dukakis campaign immediately disavowed her remarks and Dukakis fired her from his campaign staff shortly after the story broke. 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 major party presidential campaign.
After the Hurricane Katrina disaster, Brazile was appointed as a member of the board of directors of the Louisiana Recovery Authority by Kathleen Blanco from 2005 to 2009. Brazile donated her papers to the Louisiana and Lower Mississippi Valley Collections in the Louisiana State University Libraries Special Collections, located in Hill Memorial Library.
Democratic National Committee service
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.
2008 presidential election
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."
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. 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."
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."
2012 presidential election
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. Following Wasserman Schultz's installation as DNC chair, Brazile returned to her post as vice-chair.
2016 presidential election
After Debbie Wasserman Schultz resigned her position as chairperson of the Democratic National Committee on July 24, 2016, at the start of the 2016 Democratic National Convention, Brazile became interim chairperson of the DNC.
Brazile was responsible for a plan to spend money to drive up inner-city turnout in places like Chicago and New Orleans — even though neither Illinois nor Louisiana was competitive — because of fear that Clinton would win the Electoral College vote but lose the popular vote.
Sharing debate questions with Clinton campaign
A WikiLeaks e-mail dump revealed that Brazile sent an e-mail message on March 5, 2016, to John Podesta and Jennifer Palmieri with the title: "One of the questions directed to HRC tomorrow is from a woman with a rash." The message continued, "her family has lead poison and she will ask what, if anything, will Hillary do as president to help the ppl of Flint." At the next event in Flint, Clinton was delivered a similar question from audience member Mikki Wade, whose family was affected by the poisoned water.
On October 11, 2016, a WikiLeaks e-mail dump included an e-mail Brazile sent on March 12, 2016 to Clinton communications director Jennifer Palmieri with the subject header: "From time to time I get questions in advance." In the e-mail, Brazile discussed her concern about Clinton's ability to field a question regarding the death penalty, and in a CNN town hall debate the following day, Clinton received a similar question about the death penalty. According to tech blog Errata Security, the e-mail in question was verified using an everyday verification program and the DKIM system.
Brazile at first vehemently denied receiving or furnishing the Clinton campaign with any town hall questions and dismissed the Wikileaks organization as "these sad ass whipper leakers try to slow my groove". She accused TYT Politics reporter Jordan Chariton of "badgering a woman." Questioned by Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly, Brazile said, "As a Christian woman, I understand persecution. I will not sit here and be persecuted because your information is totally false."
Jake Tapper, a former colleague of Brazile's at CNN, provided his perspective on the alleged leak of a question to a Presidential candidate, calling it "very, very upsetting" and added that "journalistically, it's horrifying". Brazile, however, said that her conscience was "very clear". She later commented: "If I had to do it all over again, I would know a hell of a lot more about cybersecurity."
In a talk at the College of Journalism and Mass Communications on the University of Nebraska–Lincoln campus on October 12, 2016, Brazile condemned the leaks, which intelligence officials said came from Russia, and said they were intended to "manipulate an election, disrupt or discredit or destroy our democracy" and ultimately try to "produce an outcome more favorable to them and their interests."
On October 31, 2016, The New York Times reported: "CNN has severed ties with the Democratic strategist Donna Brazile, after hacked e-mails from WikiLeaks showed that she shared questions for CNN-sponsored candidate events in advance with friends on Hillary Clinton's campaign." CNN said it had accepted her formal resignation on October 14, adding: "We are completely uncomfortable with what we have learned about her interactions with the Clinton campaign while she was a CNN contributor."
On November 1, 2016, an internal call about the collusion was initiated by CNN President Jeff Zucker. Zucker informed his staff that, while the instances have been fully investigated and the perpetrators dealt with, the perception that campaigns could receive questions in advance "hurts all of us," adding that, "I have no tolerance for her behavior or that kind of behavior," going on to describe former network commentator Brazile's interactions with the Clinton campaign as "unethical" and "disgusting."
On March 17, 2017, Brazile admitted to forwarding debate questions to Clinton's campaign during the 2016 Democratic primary, while she was Vice Chair of the DNC and working as a CNN commentator. In an essay she wrote for Time magazine, she said, "Then in October, a subsequent release of e-mails revealed that among the many things I did in my role as a Democratic operative and D.N.C. Vice Chair prior to assuming the interim D.N.C. Chair position was to share potential town hall topics with the Clinton campaign." Brazile went on to explain: "My job was to make all our Democratic candidates look good, and I worked closely with both campaigns to make that happen. But sending those e-mails was a mistake I will forever regret."
University teaching and affiliations
Brazile 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 and Lee University Mock Convention.
Brazile was a weekly contributor and political commentator on CNN's The Situation Room and appeared on American Morning and its successor, New Day. She regularly appeared on CNN Tonight with Don Lemon, and was a frequent member of Anderson Cooper's guest panel of political experts on CNN's Election Night Coverage. Brazile is also founder and managing director of Brazile and Associates and a contributor to NPR's Political Corner and ABC News. Brazile had agreed mutually with both CNN and ABC to suspend her contracts with the networks in order to serve as interim chair of the DNC. On October 31, 2016, CNN announced that Brazile offered a formal resignation and that they were permanently severing their ties to Brazile as a CNN contributor, due to inappropriate leaks with the Clinton campaign while she worked for the network.
Brazile was a contributing writer for Ms. Magazine and a columnist for Roll Call. In 2004, Simon & Schuster published Cooking With Grease – Stirring the Pots in American Politics, Brazile's memoir of her life and work in politics. According to Elisabeth Rosenthal of The New York Times, "While the book is primarily a charming autobiography about how a poor black girl came to run a presidential campaign, its publication is giving the refreshingly impolitic Ms. Brazile the opportunity to pour forth in writing and in interviews on larger issues, like what went wrong in 2000 and what the Democrats need to do to win in 2004."
Hacks: The Inside Story
In July 2017, Hachette Books announced that it had acquired the rights to Brazile's forthcoming book, Hacks: The Inside Story of the Break-ins and Breakdowns That Put Donald Trump in the White House, published on November 7, 2017. Hachette said the book would be "equal parts campaign thriller, memoir, and roadmap for the future." Matt Latimer and Keith Urbahn, partners at the literary and creative agency Javelin, represented Brazile in negotiations with Hachette. The work is "a savage memoir of her experiences with Clinton's campaign, which she describes as mismanaged and lacking in passion."
In an excerpt of the book published in Politico magazine, Brazile wrote that she had found an "unethical agreement" between the Clinton campaign and the DNC which had allowed Clinton to exert control of the party long before she became its nominee. Later, in an interview on ABC's This Week on November 5, 2017, Brazile said that she had found no evidence of the Democratic primaries having been rigged in favor of Clinton.
Brazile writes that after Clinton fainted at a 9/11 memorial service on September 11, 2016, she gave serious consideration to replacing Clinton as the Democratic nominee, selecting Vice President Joe Biden in her place. Under the DNC charter, the party chair can declare a presidential nominee "disabled," triggering a complex replacement process that involves a meeting of the full DNC. In the interview on ABC, she explained that she "had a lot of other combinations. This is something you play out in your mind." On November 4, 2017, more than 100 former Clinton campaign staffers published an open letter saying they "do not recognize the campaign she portrays in the book." They said they were shocked to learn that Brazile had considered replacing Clinton on the ticket and dismayed that Brazile had seemingly bought into "false Russian-fueled propaganda" about Clinton's health.
The credibility of Brazile's allegations also came under scrutiny by The Washington Post. In September 2015, the newspaper had already reported about the fundraising agreement between Hillary and the DNC which Brazile disclosed and noted that Sanders supporters knew about it. It was also reported that Brazile knew about the agreement before she publicly disclosed its details.
Brazile is a member of Screen Actors Guild‐American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) and has guest-starred as herself in three episodes of the CBS drama The Good Wife and one episode of the Netflix drama House of Cards.
In 1999, The New York Times Magazine described Brazile as an LGBT activist who served on the board of the Millennium March on Washington. The magazine said she is "highly protective of her privacy" and called her "openly ambiguous" about her sexual orientation.
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[A]s deputy field operator during Michael Dukakis’ presidential bid in 1988, her comments about rumored marital infidelity on the part of GOP candidate George Bush got her fired.
- Germond, Jack W. (2005). Fat Man Fed Up: How American Politics Went Bad (Reprint ed.). New York City: Random House. p. 144. ISBN 978-0812970920.
- Drogin, Bob (October 21, 1988). "Aide's Remarks Prompt Dukakis Apology to Bush". Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles: Times Mirror Company. Retrieved October 17, 2016.
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- "Comeback". Vibe. Vibe Media Group. 16 (5): 96. May 2008. ISSN 1070-4701. Retrieved December 19, 2017.
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- Eisenstadt, Martin (2009). I Am Martin Eisenstadt: One Man's (Wildly Inappropriate) Adventures with the Last Republicans. New York City: Farrar, Straus and Giroux. ISBN 978-0865479142.
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- "Quote of the day". MSNBC. New York City: NBCUniversal. Archived from the original on February 4, 2009. Retrieved July 24, 2016.
- Stephanopoulos, George (November 8, 2009). "Brazile: Stupak Amendment: 'Outlaws Abortion'". ABC News. New York City: ABC. Retrieved October 17, 2016.
- Cillizza, Chris (April 6, 2010). "Donna Brazile to serve as interim DNC chair". The Washington Post. Washington, D.C.: Nash Holdings LLC. Retrieved April 6, 2010.
- Elving, Ron; Martin, Michel (July 24, 2016). "Debbie Wasserman Schultz Announces Resignation With Convention Set To Begin". National Public Radio. Retrieved July 25, 2016.
- Phillip, Abby; Gearan, Anne (July 24, 2016). "Wasserman Schultz announced Sunday she will resign in aftermath of email controversy". The Washington Post. Washington, D.C.: Nash Holdings LLC. Retrieved July 24, 2016.
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- "CNN drops Donna Brazile as commentator over Wikileaks revelations". The Sydney Morning Herald. November 1, 2016. Retrieved November 2, 2016.
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"Transcript of the Democratic Presidential Debate in Flint, Mich". The New York Times. March 6, 2016. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved November 5, 2016.
Jamieson, Amber (October 31, 2016). "DNC head leaked debate question to Clinton, Podesta emails suggests". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved November 5, 2016.
- Wemple, Erik (October 11, 2016). "Then-CNN contributor Donna Brazile to Clinton camp: Sometimes 'I get the questions in advance'". The Washington Post. Retrieved October 19, 2016.
- Stelter, Brian (October 12, 2016). "Wikileaks mystery: How did town hall question get to Clinton campaign?". CNN. Retrieved October 22, 2016.
- Shaw, Adam (October 24, 2016). "Tech blogger finds proof DNC chief's emails weren't 'doctored' despite claims". Fox News. Retrieved November 3, 2016.
- @@donnabrazile (October 11, 2016). "Final thought" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
- TYT Politics (October 19, 2016). "Jordan's NOT HAVING Donna Brazile's Russia Dodge!". Retrieved November 3, 2017 – via YouTube.
- "Megyn Kelly vs. Donna Brazile: Did You Receive Debate Question Beforehand?; Brazile: I Will Not Be "Persecuted"". www.realclearpolitics.com. Retrieved November 3, 2017.
- Wemple, Erik (November 7, 2016). "Donna Brazile: 'My conscience is very clear'" – via washingtonpost.com.
- Wemple, Erik (October 13, 2016). "CNN's Jake Tapper blasts leak of town hall question to Clinton campaign: 'Journalistically it's horrifying'". The Washington Post. Retrieved October 22, 2016.
- Borchers, Callum (November 7, 2016). "Donna Brazile is totally not sorry for leaking CNN debate questions to Hillary Clinton". The Washington Post. Retrieved January 3, 2017.
- Sanger, David; Savage, Charlie (October 7, 2016). "U.S. Says Russia Directed Hacks to Influence Elections". The New York Times. Retrieved December 12, 2016.
- Walton, Don (October 13, 2016). "Brazile condemns cyberattack on U.S. election process". Lincoln Journal Star. Retrieved December 12, 2016.
- "CNN Parts Ways With Donna Brazile, a Hillary Clinton Supporter". The New York Times. Retrieved November 2, 2016.
- "CNN Formally Severs Ties With Donna Brazile: 'Completely Uncomfortable' With Question-Sharing". Mediaite.com. October 31, 2016. Retrieved November 2, 2016.
Gold, Hadas (October 31, 2016). "CNN severs ties with Donna Brazile". Politico.com. Retrieved November 2, 2016.
Guthrie, Marisa. "CNN Parts Ways With Donna Brazile After Debate Questions Were Provided to Clinton". News.yahoo.com. Retrieved November 2, 2016.
- Gold, Hadas (November 2, 2016). "CNN's Jeff Zucker defends paying political surrogates at company town hall". POLITICO. Retrieved November 5, 2016.
Calderone, Michael (November 1, 2016). "CNN Chief Jeff Zucker Rips Donna Brazile's 'Disgusting' Dealings With Clinton Campaign". Huffington Post Australia. Retrieved November 5, 2016.
Nakamura, Reid (November 2, 2016). "Jeff Zucker Says CNN Will 'Not Partner Ever Again' With TV One". TheWrap. Retrieved November 5, 2016.
- Caplan, David (March 18, 2017). "Brazile: Passing debate questions to Clinton 'a mistake I will forever regret'". ABC News. Retrieved March 18, 2017.
- Shaw, Adam (March 17, 2017). "Brazile admits she forwarded town hall questions to Clinton camp". Fox News. Retrieved March 18, 2017.
- "Donna Brazile: Russia DNC Hack Played Out Exactly As Hoped". Time. Retrieved March 18, 2017.
- Brazile, Donna (2017). Hacks: The Inside Story. New York: Hachette Books. ISBN 978-0-316-47851-9.
- "Brazile Takes Over as DNC Chair". Los Angeles Sentinel. August 10, 2016. Retrieved November 10, 2016.
Brazile has 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.
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- Samuel, Terence (July–August 2004). Valentine, Victoria L. (ed.). "Having Her Say". The Crisis. The Crisis Publishing Company. 111 (4): 27. ISSN 0011-1422. Retrieved December 19, 2017.
Donna Brazile speech is a leisurely tour of .the political life of one woman who defied the odds to become a political power broker in a world where being Black and female might ordinarily limit one's prospects. But it is also a funny, and oftentimes ... In April, Brazile penned a Roll Call column headlined: "Memo to Mary Beth Cahill," urging Kerry's campaign manager to get the candidate to sit down and work out his differences with Ralph Nader.
- "Cooking with Grease: Stirring the Pots in America, By Donna Brazile". Simon and Schuster. Retrieved November 8, 2017.
- Rosenthal, Elisabeth (May 31, 2004). "The Fine Arts of Food and Politics, From a Gore Veteran". The New York Times. Retrieved November 8, 2017.
- "Donna Brazile to publish book on 2016 titled 'Hacks'". Politico. July 12, 2017.
- "Hachette to Publish Donna Brazile Book On 2016 Election". Publishers Weekly. July 12, 2017.
- Philip Rucker, Brazile says she found 'no evidence' that Democratic primaries were rigged for Clinton, Washington Post (November 5, 2017).
- Rucker, Philip (November 4, 2017). "Donna Brazile: I considered replacing Clinton with Biden as 2016 Democratic nominee". The Washington Post. Retrieved November 6, 2017.
- Lima, Christiana (November 5, 2017). "Brazile: I found 'no evidence' Democratic primary was rigged". Politico. Retrieved November 6, 2017.
- Brazile, Donna (November 2, 2017). "Inside Hillary Clinton's Secret Takeover of the DNC". Politico. Retrieved November 6, 2017.
- Greenwood, Max (November 4, 2017). "Nearly 100 Clinton campaign staffers hit back at Brazile". The Hill. Retrieved November 8, 2017.
- "OPEN LETTER FROM HILLARY FOR AMERICA 2016 TEAM". November 4, 2017. Retrieved November 8, 2017.
- "Elizabeth Warren and Donna Brazile both now agree the 2016 Democratic primary was rigged". The Washington Post. November 3, 2017. Retrieved November 20, 2017.
- Gold, Matea; Hamburger, Tom (September 19, 2015). "Political parties go after million-dollar donors in wake of looser rules". The Washington Post. Retrieved November 20, 2017.
- Hale, Mike (October 1, 2014). "Political Cameos on 'The Good Wife'? Donna Brazile Likes Them". The New York Times. New York City: The New York Times Company. Retrieved February 6, 2015.
- Sullivan, Andrew (December 12, 1999). "Not a Straight Story". The New York Times Magazine. Retrieved November 2, 2016.
- "Donna Brazile & Ana Navarra". C-SPAN.org. Retrieved September 16, 2018.
|Wikiquote has quotations related to: Donna Brazile|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Donna Brazile.|
- Brazile & Associates official site
- Appearances on C-SPAN
- Donna Brazile on Charlie Rose
- Donna Brazile at IMDb
- Works by or about Donna Brazile in libraries (WorldCat catalog)
- "Donna Brazile collected news and commentary". The New York Times.
- Donna Brazile at IMDb
|Party political offices|
| Chair of the Democratic National Committee
Debbie Wasserman Schultz
Debbie Wasserman Schultz
| Chair of the Democratic National Committee