Eleanor Clift

Washington Correspondent, The Daily Beast, McLaughlin Group Panelist & Author

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Washington Correspondent, The Daily Beast,
McLaughlin Group Panelist & Author

One of Washington’s preeminent political analysts, Eleanor Clift is Washington correspondent for The Daily Beast, formerly a contributing editor at Newsweek and author of four books. She writes about politics and policy in Washington, and the partisan clashes that are the result of divided government. Clift has covered every presidential campaign since 1976 and brings her perspective to analyze the contest between a beleaguered incumbent and an opposition party torn between traditional economic conservatives and the upstart Tea Party.

Daily Beast

After Newsweek merged with the Daily Beast under the editorial direction of the legendary editor Tina Brown, Clift wrote for both publications. Her cover story about the television show, Mad Men, won acclaim for capturing the era when women were relegated to the secretarial pool. When the Daily Beast sold Newsweek, Clift stayed with the Beast, betting on its digital future as opposed to the rapidly diminishing world of print journalism.

Television and Film

Clift is perhaps best known as a panelist on the syndicated talk show, “The McLaughlin Group,” which recently ended a record 34-year run with the death of host and creator, John McLaughlin. Clift regularly comments about politics on MSNBC, and offers insights each Friday on the Michelangelo Signorile Show on Sirius XM Satellite radio.  She has appeared as herself in several movies, including “Dave,” “Independence Day,” “Murder at 1600,” and the CBS show, “Murphy Brown.”


Clift and her late husband, Tom Brazaitis, who was a columnist for the Cleveland Plain Dealer, wrote two books together, War Without Bloodshed: The Art of Politics and Madam President: Shattering the Last Glass Ceiling. Clift’s book, Founding Sisters, is about the passage of the 19th amendment giving women the vote. Her book, Two Weeks of Life: A Memoir of Love, Death and Politics, is about the loss of her husband together with an examination of how we deal with death in America. Her latest is Selecting a President, written with Matthew Spieler.

Former White House Correspondent

Clift began her career as a secretary for Newsweek in New York, rising through the ranks to become the magazine’s White House Correspondent during the Carter and Reagan administrations. After President Reagan’s landslide reelection, she left Newsweek to cover the White House for the Los Angeles Times. A year later she returned to Newsweek and a new assignment as the magazine’s congressional and political correspondent, a position which she held for six years. After Clinton’s election in 1992, Clift returned to the White House beat for the first two years of the Clinton administration. She then became a contributing editor with a wide portfolio, focusing on political news and trends.


Clift lives in Washington, D.C., where she is on the advisory council of the International Women’s Media Foundation, the Boards of the Center for Politics and Journalism and the American News Women’s Club, and the Board of Governor’s of the National Hospice Foundation.

President Trump: The Peril and the Promise and the Result

Two thirds of voters had doubts about Donald Trump’s fitness to be president, yet they voted for him anyway because they wanted someone to shake up Washington. Did Trump deliver on his campaign promises?

An Insider's View of Washington

Media speaker Eleanor Clift discusses a variety of current topics from the 2020 presidential race and whether the Democrats can un-seat Trump to women’s growing role in politics. Clift offers an inside look at Congress and the White House: Is the system broken? Is there room for a third party in our politics? As someone who has made the transition into the digital age, Clift speaks from the trenches on today's media.

Women Blazing the Leadership Trail

Thanks to pioneers like Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi and Sarah Palin, women are prominent in national politics, yet occupy only 17% of Congressional seats and hold just six governorships. The goal of a woman president remains elusive, even as the opportunities for women candidates have never been greater. When women run, they do just as well as men; the challenge is getting more women to enter the arena, overcoming what a coalition of women's groups calls a gender gap in political ambition: the mindset that "men have it, women don't." Clift draws on her experience covering the first "Year of the Woman" in 1992, when a record number of women were elected to Congress and makes the case that a banner year for women is only as far away as the next election.

Media and Politics

The media took a lot of heat for how they covered the 2016 election, and how they forecast a Hillary Clinton win for months, dismissing Donald Trump as a clown and potentially affecting the outcome. How does the media adjust to Trump’s Reality Show style of politics where facts are often disregarded and fake news is more believed than reported news stories? Clift can talk personally about the changing media landscape. After spending most of her career at Newsweek magazine, she made the conversion to new media and writes for the Daily Beast web site.

All Eleanor Clift Books

Selecting a President (Fundamentals of American Government)
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Two Weeks of Life: A Memoir of Love, Death, and Politics
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Founding Sisters and the 19th Amendment
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Madam President: Shattering the Last Glass Ceiling
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War Without Bloodshed: The Art of Politics
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"Thank you for your part to make this National Leadership Seminar a very positive educational experience for 291 people from 28 states. Your presentation, "Bipartisanship, Partnership, and Congress: How is it Working in the new Administration?" was essential in providing a balanced portfolio of critical information to this diverse audience that included several elected officials, Main Street business owners, farmers, educators, college students and other community leaders. Many participants commented that the seminar had afforded them a broader perspective and new ideas on leadership and on a number of contemporary issues. The number of questions at the end of the presentations indicated how timely your information was to the group."

- | Linda Kay Benning, Asst Dir, Outreach, Nat'l Assoc of State Universities

"Everyone I have spoken to was thoroughly impressed and interested in your remarks and experiences...Thank you again for sharing so unselfishly of yourself."

- | Linda D. Wilkinson, Special Events Director, LINC (Legal Information Network for Cancer)

"In a word...Wow!!! I hope that you are still basking in the warm afterglow of success, following your star turn as moderator of 'Women, Politics & Power' at the annual meeting of the ABA ..."

- | Hon. Delissa A. Ridgway, ABA Commission on Women,ABA (American Bar Association)

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Recent Books

Selecting a President (Fundamentals of American Government)
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Two Weeks of Life: A Memoir of Love, Death, and Politics
Purchase Book

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