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David Gergen

David Gergen

Overview
David Richmond Gergen is an American political consultant
Political consulting
Political consulting, beyond the self-evident definition of consulting in political matters, refers to a specific management consulting industry which has grown up around advising and assisting political campaigns. This article deals primarily with the development and nature of political consulting...

 and former presidential advisor who served during the administrations of Nixon
Richard Nixon
Richard Milhous Nixon was the 37th President of the United States, serving from 1969 to 1974. The only president to resign the office, Nixon had previously served as a US representative and senator from California and as the 36th Vice President of the United States from 1953 to 1961 under...

, Ford
Gerald Ford
Gerald Rudolph "Jerry" Ford, Jr. was the 38th President of the United States, serving from 1974 to 1977, and the 40th Vice President of the United States serving from 1973 to 1974...

, Reagan
Ronald Reagan
Ronald Wilson Reagan was the 40th President of the United States , the 33rd Governor of California and, prior to that, a radio, film and television actor....

, and Clinton
Bill Clinton
William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton is an American politician who served as the 42nd President of the United States from 1993 to 2001. Inaugurated at age 46, he was the third-youngest president. He took office at the end of the Cold War, and was the first president of the baby boomer generation...

. He is currently Director of the Center for Public Leadership and a professor of public service at Harvard Kennedy School. Gergen is the Editor-at-large for U.S. News and World Report and the Senior Political Analyst for CNN
CNN
Cable News Network is a U.S. cable news channel founded in 1980 by Ted Turner. Upon its launch, CNN was the first channel to provide 24-hour television news coverage, and the first all-news television channel in the United States...

.

David Gergen was born in Durham
Durham, North Carolina
Durham is a city in the U.S. state of North Carolina. It is the county seat of Durham County and also extends into Wake County. It is the fifth-largest city in the state, and the 85th-largest in the United States by population, with 228,330 residents as of the 2010 United States census...

, North Carolina
North Carolina
North Carolina is a state located in the southeastern United States. The state borders South Carolina and Georgia to the south, Tennessee to the west and Virginia to the north. North Carolina contains 100 counties. Its capital is Raleigh, and its largest city is Charlotte...

.
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Quotations

They’re also a valuable supplement to the daily press, but like any new breakthrough, there is a dark side. (February 2005)

On the subject of blogs

I for one hope that some of the standards of the old world carry over. (February 2005)

On the subject of blogs

That's none of your damn business. (before February 2005)

On the Bohemian Grove

"A reader is not always a leader, but a leader is always a reader." (February 2004)

On the importance of reading
Encyclopedia
David Richmond Gergen is an American political consultant
Political consulting
Political consulting, beyond the self-evident definition of consulting in political matters, refers to a specific management consulting industry which has grown up around advising and assisting political campaigns. This article deals primarily with the development and nature of political consulting...

 and former presidential advisor who served during the administrations of Nixon
Richard Nixon
Richard Milhous Nixon was the 37th President of the United States, serving from 1969 to 1974. The only president to resign the office, Nixon had previously served as a US representative and senator from California and as the 36th Vice President of the United States from 1953 to 1961 under...

, Ford
Gerald Ford
Gerald Rudolph "Jerry" Ford, Jr. was the 38th President of the United States, serving from 1974 to 1977, and the 40th Vice President of the United States serving from 1973 to 1974...

, Reagan
Ronald Reagan
Ronald Wilson Reagan was the 40th President of the United States , the 33rd Governor of California and, prior to that, a radio, film and television actor....

, and Clinton
Bill Clinton
William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton is an American politician who served as the 42nd President of the United States from 1993 to 2001. Inaugurated at age 46, he was the third-youngest president. He took office at the end of the Cold War, and was the first president of the baby boomer generation...

. He is currently Director of the Center for Public Leadership and a professor of public service at Harvard Kennedy School. Gergen is the Editor-at-large for U.S. News and World Report and the Senior Political Analyst for CNN
CNN
Cable News Network is a U.S. cable news channel founded in 1980 by Ted Turner. Upon its launch, CNN was the first channel to provide 24-hour television news coverage, and the first all-news television channel in the United States...

.

Family and education


David Gergen was born in Durham
Durham, North Carolina
Durham is a city in the U.S. state of North Carolina. It is the county seat of Durham County and also extends into Wake County. It is the fifth-largest city in the state, and the 85th-largest in the United States by population, with 228,330 residents as of the 2010 United States census...

, North Carolina
North Carolina
North Carolina is a state located in the southeastern United States. The state borders South Carolina and Georgia to the south, Tennessee to the west and Virginia to the north. North Carolina contains 100 counties. Its capital is Raleigh, and its largest city is Charlotte...

. He is the youngest of four children of Aubigne Munger (née Lermond) and Dr. John Jay Gergen, who once chaired Duke University
Duke University
Duke University is a private research university located in Durham, North Carolina, United States. Founded by Methodists and Quakers in the present day town of Trinity in 1838, the school moved to Durham in 1892. In 1924, tobacco industrialist James B...

's mathematics department. His brother, Kenneth J. Gergen
Kenneth J. Gergen
Kenneth J. Gergen is an American psychologist and professor at Swarthmore College. He obtained his B.A. at Yale University in 1957 and his Ph.D. at Duke University in 1962.-Biography:...

, is a psychologist and professor at Swarthmore College
Swarthmore College
Swarthmore College is a private, independent, liberal arts college in the United States with an enrollment of about 1,500 students. The college is located in the borough of Swarthmore, Pennsylvania, 11 miles southwest of Philadelphia....

.

Gergen served in the U.S. Navy for three-and-a-half years, serving on a ship home-ported in Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

. Gergen earned his bachelor's degree
Bachelor's degree
A bachelor's degree is usually an academic degree awarded for an undergraduate course or major that generally lasts for three or four years, but can range anywhere from two to six years depending on the region of the world...

 from Yale University
Yale University
Yale University is a private, Ivy League university located in New Haven, Connecticut, United States. Founded in 1701 in the Colony of Connecticut, the university is the third-oldest institution of higher education in the United States...

 in 1963 and was a member of Manuscript Society
Manuscript Society
Manuscript Society is a senior secret society at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. Toward the end of each junior year, 16 undergraduates are "tapped" to be inducted into the society, which meets twice weekly for dinner and discussion...

. In 1967, he received his law degree from Harvard Law School
Harvard Law School
Harvard Law School is one of the professional graduate schools of Harvard University. Located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, it is the oldest continually-operating law school in the United States and is home to the largest academic law library in the world. The school is routinely ranked by the U.S...

. In 1967, Gergen married Anne Gergen of England
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

. She is a family therapist; they live in Cambridge
Cambridge
The city of Cambridge is a university town and the administrative centre of the county of Cambridgeshire, England. It lies in East Anglia about north of London. Cambridge is at the heart of the high-technology centre known as Silicon Fen – a play on Silicon Valley and the fens surrounding the...

, Massachusetts
Massachusetts
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States of America. It is bordered by Rhode Island and Connecticut to the south, New York to the west, and Vermont and New Hampshire to the north; at its east lies the Atlantic Ocean. As of the 2010...

. They have two children, Christopher and Katherine, and four grandchildren.

Political activity


Gergen began his Federal Career in the Press Office of the US Department of Agriculture in 1971. Gergen has served four presidents including Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton. Gergen joined the Nixon White House in 1971, as a staff assistant on the speech writing team, a group that included Pat Buchanan
Pat Buchanan
Patrick Joseph "Pat" Buchanan is an American paleoconservative political commentator, author, syndicated columnist, politician and broadcaster. Buchanan was a senior adviser to American Presidents Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, and Ronald Reagan, and was an original host on CNN's Crossfire. He sought...

, Ben Stein
Ben Stein
Benjamin Jeremy "Ben" Stein is an American actor, writer, lawyer, and commentator on political and economic issues. He attained early success as a speechwriter for American presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford...

, and William Safire
William Safire
William Lewis Safire was an American author, columnist, journalist and presidential speechwriter....

. Two years later, he took over as the director. Gergen went on to become the Director of Communications for President Gerald Ford and President Ronald Reagan, a counselor on domestic and foreign affairs for President Bill Clinton
Bill Clinton
William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton is an American politician who served as the 42nd President of the United States from 1993 to 2001. Inaugurated at age 46, he was the third-youngest president. He took office at the end of the Cold War, and was the first president of the baby boomer generation...

 and his Secretary of State, Warren Christopher
Warren Christopher
Warren Minor Christopher was an American lawyer, diplomat and politician. During Bill Clinton's first term as President, Christopher served as the 63rd Secretary of State. He also served as Deputy Attorney General in the Lyndon Johnson administration, and as Deputy Secretary of State in the Jimmy...

, and an adviser to the 1980 George H.W. Bush presidential campaign. Despite his long-standing association with Republicans, Gergen has stated that he is actually an independent
Independent (politician)
In politics, an independent or non-party politician is an individual not affiliated to any political party. Independents may hold a centrist viewpoint between those of major political parties, a viewpoint more extreme than any major party, or they may have a viewpoint based on issues that they do...

.

Educational, journalistic and other professional activities


Following his years in public service, Gergen worked as a political journalist, commentator, editor, teacher, public servant, and is a best-selling author. He was the first managing editor of Public Opinion
Public Opinion
Public Opinion , by Walter Lippman, is a critical assessment of functional democratic government, especially the irrational, and often self-serving, social perceptions that influence individual behavior, and prevent optimal societal cohesion...

, a magazine affiliated with the American Enterprise Institute
American Enterprise Institute
The American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research is a conservative think tank founded in 1943. Its stated mission is "to defend the principles and improve the institutions of American freedom and democratic capitalism—limited government, private enterprise, individual liberty and...

, and from 1985–1986, he worked as an editor at U.S. News & World Report
U.S. News & World Report
U.S. News & World Report is an American news magazine published from Washington, D.C. Along with Time and Newsweek it was for many years a leading news weekly, focusing more than its counterparts on political, economic, health and education stories...

. Following his service in the Clinton administration, Gergen resumed his relationship with U.S. News, and currently serves as editor-at-large. In 2000, he published a New York Times bestseller book, Eyewitness to Power: The Essence of Leadership, Nixon to Clinton.

Gergen’s career in television began in 1985, when he joined the MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour for Friday night discussions of politics. During that period, he was a regular commentator for five years on the NewsHour, providing a conservative viewpoint counterposed to that of Mark Shields
Mark Shields
Mark Shields is an American political columnist and commentator.Since 1988, Shields has provided weekly political analysis and commentary for PBS’ award-winning PBS NewsHour. His current sparring partner is David Brooks of The New York Times. Previous counterparts were the late William Safire,...

. During his tenure, Gergen had the opportunity to interview many leading intellectuals. Gergen also moderated PBS
Public Broadcasting Service
The Public Broadcasting Service is an American non-profit public broadcasting television network with 354 member TV stations in the United States which hold collective ownership. Its headquarters is in Arlington, Virginia....

's World@Large discussion program for two seasons. In addition, he has also appeared on MSNBC
MSNBC
MSNBC is a cable news channel based in the United States available in the US, Germany , South Africa, the Middle East and Canada...

 Hardball with Chris Matthews
Hardball with Chris Matthews
Hardball with Chris Matthews is a talk show on MSNBC, broadcast weekdays at 5 and 7 PM hosted by Chris Matthews. It originally aired on now-defunct America's Talking and later CNBC. The current title was derived from a book Matthews wrote in 1988, Hardball: How Politics Is Played Told by One Who...

, CBS
CBS
CBS Broadcasting Inc. is a major US commercial broadcasting television network, which started as a radio network. The name is derived from the initials of the network's former name, Columbia Broadcasting System. The network is sometimes referred to as the "Eye Network" in reference to the shape of...

 and The Colbert Report. Currently, Gergen is a Senior Political Analyst for CNN
CNN
Cable News Network is a U.S. cable news channel founded in 1980 by Ted Turner. Upon its launch, CNN was the first channel to provide 24-hour television news coverage, and the first all-news television channel in the United States...

 and frequently appears on Anderson Cooper 360 and The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer. Gergen has also been a guest on NPR.

Gergen's frequent television appearances as a political commentator and pundit occasionally made him the target of satire. In a biting critique of the pedantic and frequently self-evident predictions made on some televised political talk programs, humorist Joe Bob Briggs
Joe Bob Briggs
John Irving Bloom , who uses the pseudonym Joe Bob Briggs, is a syndicated American film critic, writer and comic performer.-Early years:...

 made the observation that David Gergen bore an uncanny resemblance to The Cat in the Hat
The Cat in the Hat
The Cat in the Hat is a children's book by Dr. Seuss and perhaps the most famous, featuring a tall, anthropomorphic, mischievous cat, wearing a tall, red and white-striped hat and a red bow tie. He also carries a pale blue umbrella...

.

Gergen has been actively involved in higher education. As of 2006, Gergen has been a professor of public service at Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government and director of its Center for Public Leadership. A Durham native, Gergen has also taught at Duke University
Duke University
Duke University is a private research university located in Durham, North Carolina, United States. Founded by Methodists and Quakers in the present day town of Trinity in 1838, the school moved to Durham in 1892. In 1924, tobacco industrialist James B...

 from 1995 to 1999. Today he is now a trustee. Gergen served as Elon University
Elon University
Elon University is a private liberal arts university in Elon, North Carolina, United States. Formerly known as Elon College, it became Elon University on June 1, 2001. The campus is a botanical garden and features oak trees, brick sidewalks, fountains, and lakes...

's inaugural Isabella Cannon Distinguished Visiting Professor of Leadership and as the Chair of the Elon University School of Law
Elon University School of Law
The Elon University School of Law is an American law school located in Greensboro, North Carolina, occupying the former downtown public library building. The school spent $10 million renovating the . facility. The School of Law is one of four graduate programs offered by Elon University...

 Advisory Board. Gergen is active on many non-profit boards and is Chairman of the National Selection Committee for the Ford Foundation’s
Ford Foundation
The Ford Foundation is a private foundation incorporated in Michigan and based in New York City created to fund programs that were chartered in 1936 by Edsel Ford and Henry Ford....

 program on Innovations in American Government. He is an active as a speaker on leadership and sits on many boards, including Teach for America and the Aspen Institute. He is a member of the Washington D.C. Bar and the Council on Foreign Relations
Council on Foreign Relations
The Council on Foreign Relations is an American nonprofit nonpartisan membership organization, publisher, and think tank specializing in U.S. foreign policy and international affairs...

, and holds 21 honorary degrees.
He is a past member of Bohemian Grove
Bohemian Grove
Bohemian Grove is a campground located at 20601 Bohemian Avenue, in Monte Rio, California, belonging to a private San Francisco-based men's art club known as the Bohemian Club...

 and the Trilateral Commission
Trilateral Commission
The Trilateral Commission is a non-governmental, non-partisan discussion group founded by David Rockefeller in July 1973 to foster closer cooperation among the United States, Europe and Japan.-History:...

.

External links