Eleanor Clift

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Eleanor Clift
Clift, Eleanor.jpg
Eleanor Roeloffs

(1940-07-07) July 7, 1940 (age 80)
EducationHofstra University
Hunter College
Notable credit(s)
The Daily Beast
Spouse(s)William Brooks Clift, Jr.
Tom Brazaitis (1989 - 2005, his death)
ChildrenEdward Montgomery Clift
Woodbury Blair Clift
Robert Anderson Clift
RelativesMontgomery Clift (brother-in-law)

Eleanor Clift (born July 7, 1940) is an American political reporter, television pundit, and author. She is a contributor to MSNBC and blogger for The Daily Beast.[1] She is a regular panelist on the nationally syndicated show The McLaughlin Group, which she has compared to "a televised food fight".[2] Clift is a board member at the IWMF (International Women's Media Foundation).[3]

Early years[edit]

Clift was born in Brooklyn, New York, the daughter of German immigrants from the island of Föhr in the North Sea.[4] She grew up in the Jackson Heights neighborhood of Queens, where her parents ran a deli in Sunnyside.[5] Clift was raised a Lutheran[6] and attended Hofstra University and Hunter College. She began her career in 1963 as a secretary at Newsweek, and is one of the first female reporters to earn an internship from the secretary pool. Clift later became White House correspondent for Newsweek and has covered every presidential campaign for the magazine since 1976. She began a 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.[citation needed]


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 portrayed by Jan Hooks on Saturday Night Live. She was also 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."

She was a keynote speaker at the 2012 Washington & Jefferson College Energy Summit, where the Washington & Jefferson College Energy Index was unveiled.[7]

Contributing to the anthology Our American Story (2019), Clift addressed the possibility of a shared American narrative and focused on America as a social movement, writing, "[S]ocial movements are America's story, and they're my story as a woman born in the middle of the last century whose life was made measurably better amid these broad strokes of history."[8]


Personal life[edit]

Clift's first marriage was to William Brooks Clift, Jr. (1919–1986), the older brother of actor Montgomery Clift. They had three sons: Edward Montgomery, Woodbury Blair, and Robert Anderson. In September 1989, she married Tom Brazaitis,[10] a Washington columnist for The Plain Dealer in Cleveland, Ohio. They remained together until his death of kidney cancer on 30 March 2005.[11][12]


External video
Booknotes interview with Clift and Brazaitas on War Without Bloodshed, August 25, 1996, C-SPAN
Presentation by Clift and Brazaitis on War Without Bloodshed, December 2, 1997, C-SPAN
Washington Journal interview with Clift and Brazaitis on Madam President, July 3, 2000, C-SPAN
Discussion with Clift and Evan Thomas on Election 2004: How Bush Won and What You Can Expect in the Future, January 20, 2005, C-SPAN
Presentation by Clift on Two Weeks of Life: A Memoir of Love, Death and Politics at the National Press Club, March 17, 2008, C-SPAN
Presentation by Clift on Selecting a President, May 24, 2012, C-SPAN
  • 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


  1. ^ Eleanor Clift's blogger's page on The Daily Beast
  2. ^ Press Forum
  3. ^ IWMF website "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-08-04. Retrieved 2016-01-30.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ Clift, Eleanor (2009). Two Weeks of Life: A Memoir of Love, Death, and Politics. PublicAffairs. p. 39. ISBN 0-465-01280-9.
  5. ^ 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."
  6. ^ 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.
  7. ^ "Eisenhower and Clift Headline first W&J Energy Summit" (PDF). W&J Magazine. Washington & Jefferson College. Summer 2012. p. 11. Retrieved December 16, 2012.
  8. ^ Claybourn, Joshua, ed. (2019). Our American Story: The Search for a Shared National Narrative. Lincoln, NE: Potomac Books. pp. 160–167. ISBN 1640121706.
  9. ^ "William and Barbara Edwards Media Fellows by year". Hoover Institution. Archived from the original on 2011-11-01. Retrieved 2011-10-27.
  10. ^ [1]
  11. ^ Eleanor Clift (1 April 2005). "Eleanor Clift: Facing Death With Courage". Newsweek. Archived from the original on 2005-04-06. Retrieved 2008-10-11.
  12. ^ mediabistro.com: FishbowlDC Archived 2006-05-16 at the Wayback Machine

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]