September 17, 2014  

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Washington Journalist To Speak At Southern Miss Honors Forum

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Eleanor Clift

Eleanor Clift, one of Washington’s best known journalists, will present“Countdown to 2012: the Road Ahead” at The University of Southern Mississippi Forum Lecture Series Nov. 30 at 6:30 p.m. in Bennett Auditorium on the Hattiesburg campus.

With a political view gained from decades of reporting, Clift will provide a Washington insider’s view of what is happening in the nation's capital. A Newsweek magazine contributor since 1994, Clift writes on the Washington power structure, the influence of women in politics and other issues. Her column, "Capitol Letter," is posted each Friday on Newsweek.com. She is a regular panelist on the syndicated talk show, “The McLaughlin Group” and has appeared as herself in several movies, including “Dave,” “Independence Day,” “Murder at 1600,” “Rising Sun,” and the CBS series, “Murphy Brown.”

 “Eleanor Clift is a major voice in American politics,” said David R. Davies, dean of the Honors College. “Her insights into our country’s recent political upheaval will offer our students and the community a political view gained from decades of reporting.”

Formerly White House correspondent for Newsweek, Clift also served as its congressional and political correspondent for six years. She was a key member of the magazine's 1992 election team, following the campaign of Bill Clinton from the start to inauguration day. In June 1992 she was named deputy Washington bureau chief.

As a reporter in the Newsweek Atlanta bureau, Clift covered Jimmy Carter's bid for the presidency and followed him to Washington to become the Newsweek White House correspondent.  Clift began her career as a secretary to Newsweek National Affairs editor in New York and was one of the first women at the magazine to move from secretary to reporter.

Clift left Newsweek briefly in 1985 to serve as White House correspondent for The Los Angeles Times. She has covered every presidential campaign since 1976.

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 recent book, “Two Weeks of Life: A Memoir of Love, Death and Politics” is about the loss of her husband together with an examination of the public debate over Terri Schiavo, a brain-damaged woman whose right to die was challenged by Congress and President Bush.

Clift lives in Washington, D.C., where she is on the board of the International Women's Media Foundation, the Center for Politics and Journalism, and the National Hospice Foundation.

The University of Southern Mississippi Honors Forum is sponsored by the Centennial Celebration Committee and the Honors College. The Clift presentation is free to the public.