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Donna Brazile (born December 15, 1959) is an Americanmarker author, educator, and political pundit affiliated with the Democratic Party. She was the first African-American to direct a major presidential campaign.

Brazile was born in Kenner, Louisianamarker to Lionel and Jean Brazile, the third of nine children. She became interested in politics at age nine when a local candidate for office promised to build a neighborhood playground. After graduating from Louisiana State Universitymarker, Brazile worked for several advocacy groups in Washington, D.C., and was instrumental in the successful campaign to make Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday a federal holiday.

Political strategist

Brazile has worked on several presidential campaigns for Democratic candidates, including Jimmy CarterWalter Mondale in 1976 and 1980, Jesse Jackson in 1984, Walter Mondale–Geraldine Ferraro in 1984, and for Richard 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, at the suggestion of campaign manager Susan Estrich, Brazile resigned the same day. 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 Columbiamarker, where she helped guide the District's budget and local legislation on Capitol Hill. She advised 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 presidential campaign.

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. In the 2008 election, she served as a superdelegate for her work for Bill Clinton.

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."

2008 Presidential election

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."

She was strongly critical of the Stupak-Pitts Amendment, which places limits on taxpayer-funded abortions in the context of the November 2009 Affordable Health Care for America Act.



University teaching and affiliations

Brazile also served as a lecturer at the University of Maryland, College Parkmarker, a fellow at Harvard Universitymarker's Institute of Politics, and is currently an Adjunct Professor of Women and Gender Studies at Georgetown Universitymarker. She is member of the advisory board of the Washington & Lee Mock Convention

In Sept. 2009, Brazile is the lead speaker for the commUNITY Series at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Commentator and author

Brazile is a weekly contributor and political commentator on CNN's The Situation Room and American Morning and in CNN's Election Coverage. In addition, she is a contributing writer for Ms. Magazine and was a former columnist for Roll Call. Brazile is also founder and managing director of Brazile and Associates and a contributor to NPR's Political Corner and ABC News. In 2004, Simon and Schuster published Cooking With Grease, Brazile's memoir of her life and work in politics.

References

External links




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