Eleanor Clift

Stories by Eleanor Clift

  • Clift: Honoring Brave Journalists

    What the gritty bravery of journalists from Iraq, Mexico and Zimbabwe can teach us about America and moral responsibility.
  • Carter's Book Tour from Hell

    Jimmy Carter has been called a bigot, an anti-Semite, a liar, a plagiarist and a coward. By the time the former president appeared on the Jay Leno show toward the end of a grueling national tour to promote his book, "Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid," Carter was losing his voice. He'd been building houses in New Orleans's Ninth Ward with Habitat for Humanity, one of his many pet projects, and it was cold, and the commercial flight to the Coast didn't help. Leno seemed astounded that a former president didn't take a private jet. "I would if I had one," Carter quipped. Don't you have friends in high places that would send a plane for you? Leno pressed. "Not since this book came out," Carter said with a wry laugh.The book, or rather the book tour, is the focus of a new documentary, "Jimmy Carter: Man from Plains," by Oscar-winning director Jonathan Demme, and it is bound to revive the controversy over Carter's use of the word "apartheid" to describe the state of the Palestinian people....
  • Clift: The Limbo of Joe Lieberman

    Neither side fully trusts the 'Independent' senator as he straddles an awkward divide between his former party and his Republican friends.
  • Clift: Why Is Howard Dean So Quiet?

    Howard Dean has been oddly quiet lately while intraparty squabbling over the Dems' primary calendar escalates. What gives?
  • ‘I Hope I’M Wrong’

    Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine is one of the leading proponents of a Senate resolution opposing President Bush’s plan to send additional combat troops into Iraq. The nonbinding measure has created divisions within the GOP; some colleagues have accused Sen. John Warner of Virginia, the chief Republican sponsor of the resolution, of undermining the troops, a charge Collins strongly refutes.Collins traveled to Iraq as part of a Senate delegation in December, and returned convinced that putting more troops into Baghdad would not stop the violence. She joined forces with Warner and Democratic Sen. Carl Levin, chairman of the Armed Services Committee, in cosponsoring the resolution. The measure is broadly popular with Democrats—but its fate hinges on how many Republicans are willing to break with Bush and vote against his plan.Collins, one of 22 Senate Republicans up for re-election in ’08, is a moderate who often bucks her party. But many of her colleagues are in unfamiliar...
  • Clift: Bringing the War Home With Them

    A new film by the Oscar-winning director of 'Crash' spotlights the growing ranks of U.S. combat veterans who are returning from battle scarred by PTSD.
  • Clift: John Dingell, in Turnaround

    The man they call 'Tailpipe John' on Capitol Hill for his tight ties to the auto industry has had a change of heart on global warming and carbon emissions. Or has he?
  • Clift: Top Dems Line Up for Senate Seats

    Bush's report on Iraq may have shored up his support in the Senate. But his determination to keep 130,000 U.S. troops there has left a gap for a parade of prime-time Democrats to turn Red States blue in the '08 election.
  • Clift: A Tale of Two Parties

    Two gatherings in the nation's capital help point up the difference between theorizing about war—and fighting one.
  • Clift: Marketing the War

    September marks the media rollout for the next stage of the White House campaign to keep boots on the ground in Iraq. Will General Petraeus stick to the script?
  • Clift: Society’s Challenges as We Age

    Having chronicled every stage of life, author Gail Sheehy now has insights on the final stages--from the view of a caregiver. One thing she's learned: Government doesn't always help.
  • Clift: Is Newt Gingrich Poised for a Comeback?

    Fourteen video cameras lined the ballroom of the National Press Club on a steamy August day, drawn by the back-to-the-future presence of Newt Gingrich, former House Speaker and possible presidential candidate. The audience of journalists, industry representatives and assorted hangers-on sat transfixed as Gingrich wowed them with his versatile intellect and his political derring-do.In an angry election season, this could be Gingrich’s moment. He’s a bomb thrower, and this time he’s hurling smart bombs, blasting risk-averse candidates and the army of consultants that have sapped all spontaneity out of the presidential-election process. His fury at the ways of Washington echoes the way he tapped into voter disgust with the status quo in 1994 when he led the Republican revolution that captured control of the House for the first time in 40 years. He defined the conservative takeover, and then became part of its decline when he resigned the speakership in 1999.Now he is poised to shake up...
  • Clift: Rachel Corrie’s Story Needs to Be Heard

    A new play about the life of a young woman run down by Israeli forces in Gaza may be politically controversial, but it speaks to cross-cultural human truths that deserve an audience.
  • Clift: Dems Must Act Now to End the War

    The media treated the Senate’s all-night session as a comedy routine, a chance to make jokes about sleepovers and pizza delivery. Everybody knew going in that the Democrats didn’t have the votes to pass an amendment calling for the draw down of troops beginning in 120 days. But the Democrats needed to show they’re at least trying to bring about the change in policy they promised on the campaign trail last year.The operative emotion is anger. The voters are almost as furious with the Democrats for their inability to end the Iraq War as they are with President Bush for prolonging it. Democrat Chellie Pingree lost by 16 points when she challenged Maine Republican Susan Collins in 2002. Now Collins, running for re-election in ’08, is on everybody’s endangered list. After much public agonizing, she became one of the four Republicans this week to break with Bush and vote with the Democrats on the war.“It’s a different world,” says Pingree, who is running for the House seat in Maine being...
  • Clift: The Real Tragedy of the Libby Case

    It was always obvious that President Bush would not let Scooter Libby go to jail. The real tragedy of the affair is that more people weren't tagged with his crime.
  • Clift: Joe Biden's Horse Sense

    It was classic Biden. He was late for lunch and would have to leave early, but in the 20 minutes he stayed and took questions, he got more words out than most politicians do in twice the time. He didn’t have anything scripted to say, his press aide told us, but then again he rarely does. Joe Biden makes it up as he goes along, drawing on his 34 years in the U.S. Senate.He is a force of nature—smart, even brilliant; passionate about what he believes, and a challenge for any mere staff person to rein in. At least four aides circled around trying valiantly to corral him. He had five minutes to get back to the Senate. He is willing to miss votes if his absence won’t change the outcome, he explains, unless there are political implications. The Senate was voting Thursday afternoon on a card check, which labor unions oppose, and Biden, who’s running for president, wanted to be there even though his vote was not needed to defeat the measure.Biden is carving out a role for himself as a truth...
  • Clift: Will 2008 Be the Liberals' Year?

    The left wing of the Democratic Party is back from the wilderness. They’re revved up and ready to take the best shot they’ve had in a long time at putting someone simpatico in the White House. Progressives are driving the debate in Congress and in the country, pulling the party’s presidential candidates to the left on issues like the war in Iraq, universal health care and an Apollo-like program for energy independence.Hillary Clinton is the weather vane. She began the campaign with a hawkish record on the Iraq War, only to vote last month with Dennis Kucinich and Barack Obama against the war-funding bill. A year ago, she talked about a health plan that covered children; now she’s about to join John Edwards and Obama in putting forward a more expansive proposal. Her husband championed free trade as president; she joined a growing chorus of populist Democrats this week to vote against a trade pact with South Korea.If the left wants purity on the issues, they don’t have to settle for...
  • Clift: God and Mike Huckabee

    The former Arkansas governor is an ordained Baptist minister who has eloquently handled questions about evolution in the GOP debates. But he's languishing in the polls. He thinks social conservatives could become irrelevant in the Republican Party. Is he right?
  • Clift: Bush Is Right on Immigration

    The immigration deal worked out between Senate leaders and the White House is an unwieldy compromise nobody much likes. Democrats will mostly support it because the liberal lion, Ted Kennedy, is leading the charge. And the fact that right-wing Republicans are worked up into such a lather about the bill may give some Democrats enough reason to back it.President Bush is at war with his own party, tearing it apart over an issue that was supposed to be the GOP’s ticket to an enduring governing majority. In his Rose Garden press conference Thursday, he pleaded with lawmakers to recognize that the way they deal with the estimated 12 million illegal immigrants is about “the heart and soul of America,” a country founded by immigrants. “I would rather they come here legally than stuffed in the back of an 18-wheeler,” Bush said.Bush has the right instincts when it comes to immigration policy. He was elected governor four years after Pete Wilson took the statehouse in California and made...