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Tue, 12.15.1959

Donna Brazile, a skilled political strategist, educator, and author

Donna Brazile

Donna Brazile was born on this date in 1959. She is an African American GLBT author, educator, and political activist and strategist.

Brazile was born in New Orleans, LA, to Lionele and Jean Brazile, the third of nine children. She became interested in politics when at age nine a local candidate for office promised to build a neighborhood playground.

After graduating from Louisiana State University, 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.

Brazile has worked on several presidential campaigns for Democratic candidates, including the Jimmy Carter-Walter Mondale ticket in 1976 and 1980, the Rev. Jesse Jackson's first historic bid for the presidency in 1984, Walter Mondale-Geraldine Ferraro ticket in 1984, and for U.S. Representative 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.

During this time unsubstantiated rumors of an extra-marital affair involving George H.W. Bush were reported by Brazile, and she said he needed to "'fess up" about it. The Dukakis campaign immediately disavowed her remarks and, at the suggestion of campaign manager Susan Estrich, Brazile resigned the same day. Estrich has recently claimed that "I fired her 16 years ago because she wouldn't follow Mike Dukakis' orders to go easy on George Bush."

In the 1990s, Brazile served as Chief of Staff and Press Secretary to Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton 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 2000, Brazile was appointed campaign manager of the 2000 presidential campaign of Vice-President Al Gore, becoming the first African American woman ever to run a major presidential campaign. After the post-election fight over votes in Florida, Brazile was appointed Chair of the Democratic National Committee's Voting Rights Institute.

She also served as a lecturer at the University of Maryland, College Park, a fellow at Harvard University's Institute of Politics, and as an Adjunct Professor of Government at Georgetown University.

Brazile is a weekly contributor and political commentator on CNN's Inside Politics and American Morning. In addition, she is a columnist for Roll Call and a contributing writer for Ms. Magazine. In 2004, Brazile published Cooking With Grease, her memoir of her life and work in politics.   In 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.  In 2019 she  accepted a broadcast position with Fox News network.

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