Clifford D. "Cliff" Schecter (born 1971) is an American political writer, commentator, and operative. Schecter is considered to be a political progressive and wrote a book highly critical of 2008 Republican Presidential nominee John S. McCain; he has a reputation as a pugnacious proponent of progressive politics and policies. Schecter is married and lives with his wife and family in Columbus, Ohio.
Early life & education
Schecter was born and raised in New York City. He attended the University of Pennsylvania, where he became politically active as a progressive and worked on his first political campaigns. He graduated in 1994 with distinction with a Bachelor of Arts in American History.
Early political experience & academic study
Schecter then worked in the financial industry before returning to the political world as a polling analyst at the political consulting firm Penn, Schoen & Berland. He spent the 1996 campaign cycle assigned to their biggest client, Democratic President Bill Clinton.
Schecter left Penn & Schoen after Clinton's re-election, obtaining a master's degree in 1999 from Columbia University's School of International Affairs with a concentration in international journalism and public relations. In 2004, Schecter was admitted as a Graduate Fellow to the Ph.D. program in American History at American University.
After obtaining his master's degree, Schecter interned at the political magazine The Washington Monthly and joined the Global Strategy Group (GSG), a polling and communications firm, where he worked for two years as a strategic counselor to several of the firm's clients, including then New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, before departing to consult on his own. Schecter has consulted for the Democratic National Committee, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and Working America. He also worked for various campaigns across the upper South, including those of Mark Warner, elected governor of Virginia in 2001, and Lois Combs Weinberg and Bruce Lunsford, who failed in their bids to become Kentucky's Senator and Governor, respectively.
Schecter quickly gained a reputation for being a fierce defender of progressive ideology and candidates in print as well, appearing in Salon.com, The Washington Monthly, The American Prospect,; his pieces were syndicated by Knight Ridder and United Press International, among other outlets. He also became a regular on The Young Turks radio program with a weekly segment called "Republican Sexcapades". Schecter is also a regular contributor and guest on The Majority Report with Sam Seder.
The Real McCain
In April 2008, Schecter published his first book, The Real McCain: Why Conservatives Don't Trust Him And Independents Shouldn't. The book controverted the image of Republican Presidential nominee, Sen. John McCain, as a maverick politician who worked assiduously in the public's interest. The book asserted instead that McCain was really animated by a desire to wreak vengeance upon his political foes, a desperate need to be liked by others, an all-consuming love affair with the spotlight, and a willingness to do whatever was necessary to get ahead politically.
The book claimed to break a number of highly controversial stories, all of which McCain's campaign stoutly denied. The most controversial story featured McCain calling his wife Cindy a "cunt" in front of reporters and aides at the end of a long day campaigning for re-election in 1992. The McCain campaign responded by calling Schecter a "trash journalist" and "unstable". Another story, which had McCain assaulting fellow Congressman Rick Renzi, was subsequently backed up by other parties in major media.
Schecter moved to Columbus, Ohio in 2007, serving as a communications strategist for the Ohio House Democratic Caucus, amidst the 2008 Democratic landslide helping the Democratic Party take the majority in the Ohio House of Representatives for the first time in 14 years. Schecter then worked as communications director for appointed Ohio State Treasurer Kevin Boyce. The Democratic Party lost its majority in the Ohio house and Boyce lost the State Treasurer's office in the 2010 elections.
Schecter started a public relations firm, Libertas, in July 2009. Among his clients are New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's coalition Mayors Against Illegal Guns, former Vice-President Al Gore's Alliance for Climate Protection, and the American Association for Justice (formerly the American Trial Lawyers Association). In addition, Schecter writes a weekly column on politics for Al Jazeera English, contributes regularly to both the Huffington Post and the British newspaper The Guardian, and serves as a regular panelist for Your Voice, a Sunday morning television show dedicated to discussing political issues which is broadcast across central Ohio by ABC and Fox. He's also a guest every Friday on the internet radio podcast "The Majority Report with Sam Seder".
- Schecter, Cliff. (November 10, 2006) Election day coverage, MSNBC
- O'Reilly, Bill. (July 8, 2008) Health care reform. The O'Reilly Factor
- Zahn, Paula (September 7, 2008). Election coverage. Paula Zahn Today
- Schecter, Cliff (October 5, 2004). Sweetheart deal. Salon.com
- Schecter, Cliff. (2006, June). Bluegrass Baron, The Washington Monthly
- Schecter, Cliff and Teixeira, Ruy. (February 1, 2004). All Eyes on Dixie. The American Prospect
- The Young Turks (December 6, 2009). "Republican Sexcapades" The Young Turks
- Thomas, Will. (April 7, 2008). Report: McCain's Profane Tirade at His Wife. The Huffington Post
- Stein, Sam. (April 8, 2008). New Book: McCain Once Physically Attacked Fellow Congressman. The Huffington Post
- Schecter, Cliff. (2010) Contributor, Al Jazeera English
- Schecter, Cliff (2010). Biography, The Huffington Post
- Schecter, Cliff (2009). Biography, The Guardian
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