Donna Brazile is a political strategist and a contributor to CNN and ABC News. Follow Donna on Twitter: @donnabrazile
Thanks for speaking with us, Donna – we noticed you’re a big Zite user. Why do you use Zite?
For online news stories, breaking news and original features. I use it for research, writing and background information on particular topics of interest. Zite helps me sort out topics for future columns. I have a voracious appetite for news, gardening tips, philosophy, humor, sports and philanthropy.
That’s a lot of subjects!
Even though I tend to share political news, polling, civil rights, healthy living and women’s issues, given my profession, the three sections I look at daily are culture, gardening and healthy living.
What is the greatest lesson you’ve learned throughout your career?
The most spiritual thing we can do is help another on some level, materially or emotionally or even intellectually. We do that by increasing each day, even a little, in our acts of goodness and kindness.
What is Bill Clinton like?
He has a magnetic personality, good southern charm and a sense of humor. Most of all, he is one of the smartest men I have ever encountered.
You also supported President Obama’s re-election. What was the most impressive moment of his first term?
Either when he announced that Bin Laden was dead or his speech proposing what is now called Obamacare. Every president since Harry Truman had tried to move the country toward universal healthcare, but he did it. The first unalienable right listed in the Declaration is “life,” and “heal the sick” is a universal spiritual commandment. Obamacare’s not perfect, but it took courage to push that through during a financial crisis. Also, I admire his handling of Hurricane Sandy and how he worked with Gov. Christie, who had disparaged him only a few weeks earlier.
What are you looking forward to in his second term?
Action on climate change and our energy policy. An end to the playground tantrums in Congress, leading to a mature approach to the economy. Fixing the cost of health care, long term. Infrastructure repair – badly needed. Continued economic growth – the latest figures are very encouraging – and tax code reform; investment in and a serious discussion about education; immigration reform. Overturning of Citizens United, so we take back the electoral process from the special interests and return civility to our public discourse. To accomplish any of this, the President will need the cooperation of Congress, which means the legislators will have to grow up and put the country first.
What are the five things you’ve learned about President Obama that other people wouldn’t know?
1) I am impressed with how deliberate a thinker he is, how he’s not afraid of debate. 2) He seems genuinely moved by what I’d call the small interactions. Remember that hug with the restaurant owner, who picked him up? President Obama seems to treasure the in-the-moment exchanges that connect heart-to-heart. (Watch his smile when a child reaches out.) 3) His sense of humor and playfulness. The self-deprecating wit is genuine. He enjoys his inner child. 4) His competitiveness. 5) He really respects people. He listens. He’s truly family and child-centered. Obama is someone I’d like to have a beer with, or a glass of red wine to discuss philosophy with and debate the writings of Frederick Douglas or WEB Dubois.
Who has been your favorite person to interview and why?
Nancy Pelosi for Capitol File Magazine. She is one of the most inspirational figures of our time.
When you’re not working, what activities do you enjoy?
Gardening, playing fetch outdoors with my dog, cooking, reading books or magazines or watching movies or sports.