Donna Brazile

Photo: Joe Kohen/

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The Power of Ambition: Donna Brazile
Political analyst, force of nature

Donna Brazile grew up in New Orleans and discovered campaigning at the age of 9, when she went door-to-door for a candidate who'd promised to build a playground in her neighborhood. Thirty-two years later, she became the first African-American woman to manage a major presidential campaign (Al Gore's, in 2000). Now 49, she teaches in the women's and gender studies program at Georgetown University and is a contributor to O magazine, CNN, NPR, and ABC News. We asked her to tell us about the many things she has aspired to over the years:

I came into this world anxious to be a part of it. I wanted to find my place at the table. I wanted to be successful. In high school, I wanted to be involved in everything that was happening: I wanted to join the Soul Sisters Club and write poetry and do athletics and student council. I wanted to use my big mouth, and my energy, and my intellect. And today I still want those things—and then some. I want to make a difference in presidential politics. I want to educate and inform. I want to connect to the next generation. One day I want us to put a woman in the White House. I want to write poetry—not like when I was young, about the gory details of growing up poor and black, but poetry that comes from the calming stream flowing in my soul. I want to practice nonviolence. I want to practice joy. I want to learn from my enemies, even if all I learn is not to be like them. I want to get the last word. I want to do a little bit of everything, and when I'm not stirring some pot somewhere or creating some drama, then I want to be alone in my garden.


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