Reed, Bruce 1963(?)-

views updated

Reed, Bruce 1963(?)-


Born c. 1963. Education: Graduated from Princeton University; Oxford University, M.A.


E-mail—[email protected].


Writer, journalist, editor, columnist, speechwriter, domestic policy advisor, and political aide. Chief speechwriter for Senator Al Gore, 1985-89; Democratic Leadership Council, policy director, 1990-91, currently president; Clinton-Gore political campaign, deputy campaign manager for policy, 1992; held policy positions in the Clinton White House, including deputy assistant to the president for domestic policy, assistant to the president for policy planning, chief domestic policy advisor, and director of the Domestic Policy Council.


Rhodes Scholar.


(With Rahm Emanuel) The Plan: Big Ideas for America, Public Affairs (New York, NY), 2006.

Author of political column in Slate.

Blueprint magazine, editor-in-chief; New Democrat (magazine of the Democratic Leadership Council), founding editor.

Contributor to newspapers and periodicals, including the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, New Republic, Economist, Washington Monthly, and the Los Angeles Times.

Coauthor, Putting People First, a book on Bill Clinton's presidential agenda.


Bruce Reed is a writer, journalist, editor, and columnist who spent considerable time as a top campaign aide and policy advisor during the Bill Clinton administration. As the deputy campaign manager of the Clinton-Gore campaign in 1992, Reed was in charge of developing the campaign's policy agenda on domestic, economic, and foreign policy issues. He served for eight years in the Clinton-Gore White House, where he was President Clinton's chief policy advisor and director of the Domestic Policy Council. Reed helped develop the administration's policies on a variety of issues, including tobacco, crime, education, welfare reform, and other important domestic issues, according to a biographer on the Democratic Leadership Council Web site. He is president of the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC), a prominent democratic political organization that was responsible for inaugurating the New Democratic movement, an initiative with the DLC to modernize democratic policies and establish a governing style "based on progressive ideas, mainstream values, and innovative solutions that reflect changing times," noted a writer on the DLC Web site. Reed also served as a chief speechwriter for Al Gore, when the former vice president was a U.S. senator.

In The Plan: Big Ideas for America, written with Congressman and fellow democratic policy expert Rahm Emanuel, Reed and his coauthor "look at where the country went wrong and how Democrats can fix it," commented a reviewer in Campaigns & Elections. The political reality is that more than forty-seven million Americans do not have health insurance; an aging Baby Boomer population is threatening to strain public and private resources even as they stretch the financial solvency of the Social Security program to its limit; and, environmental concerns such as global warming, although still controversial, are increasingly deserving of serious attention. In the face of these troubles, Reed and Emanuel offer an eight-point plan for alleviating many of the ills that plague the country, and for staving off potential financial disasters that loom on the nation's horizon. "The authors take pains to assure readers that they are not writing as Democrats with political motives but as patriots with the greater good of the country in mind," remarked Jonathan Weisman, writing in the Washington Post. They are strong proponents for a dramatic simplification of the U.S. tax code to make it more favorable to middle-class working Americans. They wish to see employers required to offer employees a 401k plan. They want a nationwide children's health program that truly does accomplish the goal of covering all children. They seek a balanced national budget by requiring that increased spending in any particular area be matched either by increased taxes or decreased spending in other areas. They also endorse a program of universal access to college and education for all U.S. citizens. "Most of the ideas they espouse are small-bore and sensible," noted an Economist reviewer.

Reed and Emanuel also "float a few radical notions, too. For example, to make America safer from terrorists and hurricanes, they propose that all young Americans do three months of compulsory training in how to respond to emergencies," the Economist reviewer pointed out. "To those who agree that government is a necessary part of society, none of these ideas are bad," and they cannot be dismissed as simple political wish-list building, Weisman noted.

Some of the authors' suggestions, such as universal college access, leave critics such as Weisman wondering how the resources will be made available to pay for it, either through increased taxes or reduced spending in other areas. Others, such as Walter Russell Mead in Foreign Affairs. found merit in Reed and Emanuel's tacit suggestion that the Democrats stop supporting the outdated ideas of the New Deal and instead move towards notions and policies that better fit a modern, mobile society. For Mead, "The book's real importance is as a guide to the thinking of two bright, centrist Democrats whose views will be carefully reviewed" as the Democratic party launches in earnest into the presidential campaign of 2008.



Campaigns & Elections, October 1, 2006, review of The Plan: Big Ideas for America, p. 62.

Economist, October 14, 2006, "Fighting for Votes; America's Mid-term Elections," review of The Plan, p. 88.

Foreign Affairs, January 1, 2007, Walter Russell Mead, "The United States—The Plan: Big Ideas for America," review of The Plan, p. 164.

National Journal, December 3, 2005, Mark Kukis, "Al From, Bruce Reed, and the DLC," p. 3742.

New York Review of Books, October 19, 2006, Frank Rich, "Ideas for Democrats?," review of The Plan, p. 4; March 15, 2007, Michael Tomasky, "The Democrats," p. 16.

U.S. News & World Report, December 28, 1992, Matthew Cooper, "Bruce Reed: Bill Clinton's Vicar of Ideas," profile of Bruce Reed, p. 85.

Washington Post, September 5, 2006, Jonathan Weisman, "A Political Blueprint with Room to Build On," review of The Plan, p. A17.


Democratic Leadership Council Web site, (June 10, 2007), biography of Bruce Reed.

National Archives and Records Administration Web site, (December 5, 2007), biography of Bruce Reed.

Plan Web site, (December 5, 2007), biography of Bruce Reed.

Slate, (December 5, 2007), biography of Bruce Reed.