Clinton Aide Stephanopoulos Tells Students of Political Life

By Jon Katiraei, Horace Mann Record, Vol. 104, Issue 32. Check out The Record online.

George Stephanopoulos at HMA former senior political advisor of President Bill Clinton and current ABC News broadcaster described a life in politics and argued that the new electronic media encourages extreme opinions at last Tuesday’s assembly.

The assembly was the first of the Alexander Capelluto Memorial Lecture Series, which will present eminent speakers annually, according to the Alexander Capelluto Foundation website. The organization was established in memory of Alexander Capelluto ’04, who was killed during his sophomore year at Yale University.

George Stephanapoulos, Clinton’s communications director and now the Chief Washington Correspondent for ABC News, Stephanopoulos discussed the changing role of the media.

“The Internet completely changed the way we get our information, making news transparent,” he said at the assembly. “It has democratized the media environment when critics say it’s been corporatized.”

There are two downsides to the current role of the media, according to Stephanopoulos. “It allows rumors to spread quickly, and it allows people to seek out information that they already believe,” he said.

Stephanopoulos, who played a crucial role in Clinton’s 1992 presidential campaign, also expressed his faith in the United States’ political process at the assembly.

“Politics is not just the art of the possible, it’s also the art of the impossible,” he said to the audience. “I do believe that politicians are driven by that same fundamental impulse to improve life.”

Stephanopoulos discussed his personal life, explaining how he sorted through priesthood and law as career possibilities and decided to enter the political scene against his parents’ initial hopes. “Listen to your heart, mind and spirit, and find something that awakens you,” he advised to students.

He worked beside Clinton during the President’s first term, a time he dubbed the best of his life. He admitted, however, that the President’s system “became tangled and distracted in his second term.”

In an interview with The Record, Capelluto’s sister Katherine said that the Foundation chose Stephanopoulos because “he’s a leader in his field, since he’s had a significant impact on policy. He has a broad view of the presidential spectrum.”

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