On this date in 1940, Eleanor Clift was born in Brooklyn, N.Y. In the 1960s, she became a secretary for Newsweek magazine, and was one of the first women at Newsweek to be promoted to reporter. Clift became an accomplished political reporter for Newsweek, serving as deputy Washington bureau chief beginning in 1992, working as part of the 1992 election team which covered Bill Clinton’s campaign, and becoming a contributing editor for the magazine in September 1994. Clift was Newsweek’s White House correspondent until 1985, when she briefly became White House correspondent for The Los Angeles Times.
She currently writes a weekly column for Newsweek, and is a panelist on the political talk show “McLaughlin Group.” Clift is also a writer who authored Founding Sisters and the Nineteenth Amendment (2003), as well as co-authoring two books with her husband Tom Brazaitis. When Brazaitis died after a long battle with kidney cancer, Clift wrote the memoir Two Weeks of Life: A Memoir of Love, Death and Politics (2008), about the deaths of Brazaitis and of Terry Schiavo. Clift has appeared as herself in the films “Dave” (1993), “Independence Day” (1996), “Getting Away with Murder” (1996) and “Follow the Leader” (2002).
Clift was brought up Lutheran, but in a 2008 interview with the Cleveland Plain Dealer, she said, “I’m closer to Tom’s [atheism] than to my early upbringing in the Lutheran church. I would probably label myself as an agnostic.” She gave a speech at the 31st annual Freedom From Religion Foundation convention in 2008, and appeared on Freethought Radio on Sept. 27, 2008.