George Stephanopoulos

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George Stephanopoulos (born February 10, 1961) is a Greek American broadcaster and political adviser. He is currently ABC News's Chief Washington Correspondent and the host of ABC's Sunday morning news show This Week. Prior to joining ABC News, he was a senior political adviser to the 1992 U.S. presidential campaign of Bill Clinton and later became Clinton's communications director.

He is married to actress Alexandra Wentworth, with whom he has two daughters.

Biography

Early life

George Robert Stephanopoulos was born in Fall River, Massachusetts, and grew up in Purchase, NY and suburban Cleveland, Ohio, the descendant of Greek immigrants. His parents, Robert and Nikki, followed the Greek Orthodox faith, and Stephanopoulos, whose father is a Greek Orthodox priest (currently Dean of the Holy Trinity Cathedral in New York), had long considered entering the priesthood himself. However, when he was a freshman at Orange High School, he decided that he would rather pursue a different profession.

Education

Stephanopoulos wrestled competitively in high school, though he was a poor wrestler. He reports being a short, chubby kid, and was very awkward in his high school years. While attending Columbia College, he says he "came into his own." Stephanopoulos received his bachelor's degree from Columbia in 1982, where he was a broadcaster for WKCR Sports. Graduating summa cum laude with a degree in political science, Stephanopoulos was the salutatorian of his class. He returned to his alma mater in 2003, serving as Columbia College's Class Day speaker.

Stephanopoulos' father had always wanted his son to become a lawyer, if not a priest, so he promised his father that he would attend law school eventually. Initially he took a job with a Congressman from Cleveland, and served as an aide in Washington, D.C. Nevertheless, his father persistently questioned him as to when he would attend law school, so Stephanopoulos agreed to attend law school if he were not offered a Rhodes Scholarship. Though he had been rejected for the scholarship during his senior year at Columbia, Stephanopoulos was successful in his second attempt.

While at Oxford, Stephanopoulos earned a master's degree in theology at Balliol College on his Rhodes Scholarship. He reported spending much of his time trying to root his political leanings in deeper philosophies that he studied while at Oxford.

In May 2007, Stephanopoulos received an Honorary Doctor of Laws from St. John's University. Though only an honorary degree, its conferral symbolized completion of the law education he promised his parents.[1]

Career

Early career

After college, Stephanopoulos joined the staff of Ed Feighan as a legislative assistant.

In 1988, Stephanopoulos worked on the Michael Dukakis campaign. He notes one of the attractions to this campaign was that Dukakis was a Greek-American liberal from Massachusetts.[2] After this campaign, Stephanopoulos became House Majority Leader Dick Gephardt's floor man, a position he held until he joined the Clinton campaign.

Clinton administration

Stephanopoulos was, along with David Wilhelm and James Carville, a leading member of the 1992 Clinton campaign. His role on the campaign is portrayed in the documentary film The War Room.[3] At the outset of Clinton's presidency, Stephanopoulos served as the de facto press secretary, briefing the press even though Dee Dee Myers was officially the White House Press Secretary. Later, he was moved to Senior Advisor on Policy and Strategy, when Dee Dee Myers began personally conducting the briefings and David Gergen was brought in as the new White House Communications Director. The move was largely viewed as a rebuke to Stephanopoulos' handling of public relations during the first six months of the Clinton Administration.

Stephanopoulos resigned from the Clinton administration shortly after Clinton was re-elected in 1996.[4]

On February 25, 1994 George Stephanopoulos and Harold Ickes had a conference call with Roger Altma] to discuss RTC's choice of Republican lawyer Jay Stephens to head the Madison Guaranty investigation, that later turned in to the Whitewater investigation. [5]

His 1999 memoir, entitled All Too Human: A Political Education, was published after he left the White House during Clinton's second term. It quickly became a #1 New York Times best seller. In his book, Stephanopoulos spoke of his depression and how his face broke out into hives due to the pressures of conveying the Clinton White House message. Bill Clinton referred to the book in his autobiography, My Life, apologizing for what he felt in retrospect to be excessive demands placed on the young staffer.

George Stephanopoulos is also a member of the Bilderberg Group.[6]

Pundit

After leaving the White House at the end of Clinton's term, Stephanopoulos became a political analyst for ABC News and served as a correspondent on the ABC Sunday talk program This Week, World News Tonight, Good Morning America, along with other various special broadcasts. In September 2002, Stephanopoulos became host of This Week, and ABC News officially named him "Chief Washington Correspondent" in December 2005.

Stephanopoulos is currently the anchor of ABC's Sunday morning program, This Week with George Stephanopoulos.

On April 16, 2008, Stephanopoulos co-moderated the 21st Democratic Presidential debate between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton for the 2008 election cycle with Charles Gibson. While the debate received record ratings, the pair were heavily criticized for focusing most of first hour of the debate on controversies that occurred during the campaign rather than issues such as the economy and Iraq War. Stephanopoulos acknowledged the legitimacy of the concerns over the order of the questions, but said they were issues in the campaign that hadn't been covered in previous debates.[7]

Stephanopoulos in popular culture

Aaron Sorkin modeled both Michael J. Fox's character Lewis Rothschild in The American President and Rob Lowe's character Sam Seaborn on The West Wing after Stephanopoulos. Fox based his portrayal on Stephanopoulos as well. According to Stephanopoulos, his role in the Clinton administration was more like Bradley Whitford's character Josh Lyman than Seaborn or Rothschild.[8]

Stephanopoulos was discussed (but not seen) in the Friends episode "The One with George Stephanopoulos".[9]

In an episode of Will & Grace, a bartender at a gay bar asks Will and Jack: "What's your pleasure?" They respond: "George Stephanopoulos."

Notes

  1. St. John's University - Academics & Schools - ABC's George Stephanopoulos Delivers Commencement Address to More Than 19,000 at St. John's University
  2. Stephanopoulos, George, All Too Human, 21
  3. http://a.abcnews.com/images/ThisWeek/stephanopolous_t.jpg
  4. http://www.biography.com/search/article.do?id=9542062
  5. AllPolitics - Whitewater - Timeline
  6. http://www.bilderberg.org/1997.htm
  7. Ratings, criticism big for ABC debate, Associated Press, MSNBC 2008-04-17
  8. http://www.mediabistro.com/articles/cache/a10130.asp?c=mbennf
  9. Friends: Episode 104 (The One With George Stephanopoulos)

References

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