Political veteran Donna Brazile was recently named Democratic National Committee chair, replacing Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who recently resigned due to an alleged scandal involving Bernie Sanders’ campaign. Brazile takes the position with over 30 years of experience and is said to be “well liked and respected” among her fellow party members. She will serve as interim chair until the November election.
“As your incoming chair of the Democratic national committee, I promise you, my friends, I commit to all Americans that we will have a party that you can be proud of,” Brazile said during a speech last week at the DNC.
“We will elect Democrats up and down the ballot.”
Born in Kenner, Louisiana, Brazile began her political career at the age of nine when she worked to support the campaign of a city council candidate who promised to build a playground in her neighborhood. She continued on for four decades, serving on a number of state and local campaigns. She began working on presidential campaigns in 1976.
In 2000, she served as presidential campaign manager for former Vice President Al Gore, becoming the first African-American woman to manage a major party presidential campaign. Brazile has also served as a lecturer at the University of Maryland, College Park, a fellow at Harvard University’s Institute of Politics, and is an Adjunct Professor of Women and Gender Studies at Georgetown University. She is member of the advisory board of the Washington & Lee University Mock Convention.
Brazile is a weekly contributor and political commentator on CNN’s “The Situation Room” and appeared on “American Morning” and its successor, “New Day,” and has regularly appeared on CNN Tonight with Don Lemon. She is a frequent member of Anderson Cooper’s guest panel of political experts on CNN’s “Election Night Coverage.” Recently, it was announced that Brazile had agreed mutually with both CNN and ABC to cut ties with the networks in order to serve in her new role.
Via a released statement CNN officials said they will “revisit the contract once Brazile concludes her role.”
Meanwhile, Brazile has been implicated in the Sanders’ scandal that forced her predecessor Wasserman Schultz to step down from the position. Reportedly, messages released by hackers on the website WikiLeaks showed top party officials colluding to undermine Bernie Sanders’ campaign. No concrete evidence has been brought to prove Brazile was involved, however, she has issued an apology to Sanders’ campaign.
“On behalf of everyone at the DNC, we want to offer a deep and sincere apology to Senator Sanders, his supporters, and the entire Democratic party for the inexcusable remarks made over email,” she said during a speech at the DNC.
“These comments do not reflect the values of the DNC or our steadfast commitment to neutrality during the nominating process. The DNC does not – and will not – tolerate disrespectful language exhibited toward our candidates. Individual staffers have also rightfully apologized for their comments, and the DNC is taking appropriate action to ensure it never happens again… This is the party of justice and peace and Lyndon Johnson. This party of Barack Obama that has given 20 million Americans health care.”
“I have worked with Donna Brazile in the 1980s in campaigns and I’ve worked against Donna Brazile,” said political analyst Matthew Dowd.
“We worked on the opposite side in [Former President George W.] Bush versus Gore in the course of this and I think many Republicans are going to regret what they wish for because I think Donna Brazile as head of the DNC is going to put together a whole different discipline against the DNC and entirely different campaign, very grass roots oriented. I think it’s a really smart pick…”
In addition to her political contributions, Brazile is a contributing writer for Ms. Magazine and was a 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 & Schuster published Cooking With Grease, Brazile’s memoir of her life and work in politics.