Eleanor Clift On Death And Writing


Approaching the 3rd anniversary of the death of her husband, journalist Tom Brazaitis from cancer, Newsweek columnist Eleanor Clift appeared on The Diane Rehmn Show this morning to talk about her memoir on the emotional experience. ”I wrote a column after Tom died … his ability to rise to the occasion surprised me,” Clift told Rehm. The column also attracted the attention of Bill Frucht of Basic Books, who, at a lunch, convinced the Newsweek contributing editor to write a book framed against the Terry Schiavo debate. ”First of all,” Clift said of the Shiavo connection, ”it would allow me to put on my reporters hat.”

”… (The book) became a reporting journey for me,” she continued, ” which also became a framework for me to tell the personal story”

More after the jump ..

Clift talked about her rise from the secretarial pool — where many women began their careers, pre-Civil Rights and the pre-women’s movement — to the heights of American journalism. After picking up assignments during the Civil Rights era, Clift was assigned to the Carter campaign, where her journalism career skyrocketed. ”I was assigned to cover Jimmy Carter because the powers that be decided that he wasn’t going anywhere,” Clift said.

Pat Buchanan, her paleoconservative nemesis on The McLaughlin Group, caught up with Clift after her husband’s death and told her, sympathetically, ”you took a big hit, kid.” Clift noted how touched she was by those words. ”We are friends and friendly adversaries, and when he says ‘Eleanor is exactly right’ I can’t tell you what pleasure I take from that.”

On a lighter note, Clift, who, famously, has defended the Clinton dynasty on The McLaughlin Group for decades, hinted in The New York Times magazine a few weeks ago that she may have voted for Senator Obama in the primaries. Clift’s previous book, co-authored with her late husband, was Madam President: Shattering The Last Glass Ceiling.

(image via nationawidespeakers)