Michael Waldman

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Michael Waldman
White House Director of Speechwriting
In office
December 22, 1995 – August 9, 1999
PresidentBill Clinton
Preceded byDonald A. Baer
Succeeded byTerry Edmonds
Personal details
Political partyDemocratic
SpouseElizabeth Fine
RelativesSteven Waldman (brother)
EducationColumbia University (BA)
New York University (JD)

Michael A. Waldman is an American attorney and political advisor serving as the president of the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law, a nonprofit law and policy institute.[1] Waldman has led the center since 2005.[2]


Waldman earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Columbia University in 1982 and a Juris Doctor from the New York University School of Law in 1987.[3] During law school, Waldman worked on the New York University Law Review.[4]


Prior to his government service, Waldman was the executive director of Public Citizen's Congress Watch, then the capital's largest consumer lobbying office (1989–92).[5] He was a Lecturer in Public Policy at Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government (2001–03), teaching courses on political reform, public leadership and communications.[6] He was a partner in a litigation law firm in New York City and Washington, D.C.

From 1993 to 1995, Waldman was a special assistant to President Bill Clinton for policy coordination. As the top White House policy aide on campaign finance reform, he drafted the Clinton administration's public financing proposal. From 1995 to 1999, he was Director of Speechwriting, serving as Assistant to the President, and was responsible for writing or editing nearly 2,000 speeches, including four State of the Union and two Inaugural Addresses.[2]

In a September 2000 interview with PBS, he discussed his experiences at the White House, including his role as speechwriter, President Clinton's communication style, and the White House response to events such as the Oklahoma City bombing and the Lewinsky scandal.[7]

On April 9, 2021, Waldman was named to the Presidential Commission on the Supreme Court of the United States by President Joe Biden.[8]

Media appearances[edit]

Waldman appears frequently on television and radio to discuss public policy, the presidency and the law. Appearances include Good Morning America; PBS Newshour, CBS Evening News; the O'Reilly Factor; Nightline; 60 Minutes; Hardball with Chris Matthews; CNN's Crossfire; the Dylan Ratigan Show; color commentary on NBC (State of the Union) and ABC (Obama inaugural); NPR's Morning Edition; All Things Considered; Fresh Air; Diane Rehm; The Colbert Report; and many other programs. He writes frequently for publications including The New York Times, Washington Post, Newsweek, Slate and Democracy.


Waldman is the author of several books, including:

  • Who Robbed America? A Citizens' Guide to the S&L Scandal. Random House. 1990. ISBN 0-679-73482-1.
  • POTUS Speaks: Finding the Words That Defined the Clinton Presidency. Simon & Schuster. 2000. ISBN 978-0-7432-0020-2.
  • My Fellow Americans: The Most Important Speeches of America's Presidents from George Washington to Barack Obama. Sourcebooks. 2010 [2003]. ISBN 978-1-4022-4367-7.
  • A Return to Common Sense: Seven Bold Ways to Revitalize Democracy. Sourcebooks. 2008. ISBN 978-1-4022-1365-6.
  • The 2nd Amendment: A Biography. Simon & Schuster. 2014. ISBN 978-1-4767-4744-6.
  • The Fight to Vote. Simon & Schuster. 2017. ISBN 978-1-9821-9893-0. Revised edition, 2022.

Personal life[edit]

Waldman spent the majority of his childhood in Great Neck, New York.[9] He is married to Elizabeth Fine, currently the counsel to the New York Governor Kathy Hochul.[10] She was previously general counsel to the New York City Council and the Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the United States during the Clinton administration. Together, they have three children.[11] Waldman and his family currently reside in Brooklyn, New York.

His brother, Steven Waldman, co-founded Beliefnet and formerly served as a senior advisor to the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission.[12]


  1. ^ "Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law"
  2. ^ a b Staff biography:"Michael Waldman". Brennan Center for Justice. Retrieved 2014-06-23.
  3. ^ "AitN: April 13, 2020". Columbia College Today. 10 April 2020. Retrieved April 12, 2020.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  4. ^ New York University School of Law. “Michael Waldman: Alumnus of the Month". Retrieved November 23, 2010.
  5. ^ "Public Citizen's Congress Watch"
  6. ^ "The Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy: Spring 2001 Visiting Faculty
  7. ^ "Interview: Michael Waldman". PBS Frontline. 16 January 2001. Retrieved 2014-06-23.
  8. ^ "President Biden to Sign Executive Order Creating the Presidential Commission on the Supreme Court of the United States". The White House. 2021-04-09. Retrieved 2021-04-27.
  9. ^ Kulish, Nicholas (30 October 1996). "Michael and Steven Waldman: Brothers inside the Beltway". Columbia Spectator. Retrieved 3 February 2016.
  10. ^ Rose, Veronica (25 August 2021). "Liz Fine Named Counsel to the Governor as Governor Hochul Takes Office". www.citylandnyc.org. Retrieved 14 February 2022.
  11. ^ Harris, John F. (19 January 1999). "Cooking Up the Word Stew". Washington Post. Retrieved 3 February 2016.
  12. ^ "Columbia Daily Spectator 30 October 1996 — Columbia Spectator". spectatorarchive.library.columbia.edu. Retrieved 2021-04-12.

External links[edit]