iOS app Android app

Robert Schlesinger
GET UPDATES FROM Robert Schlesinger
Robert Schlesinger is deputy assistant managing editor, opinion at US News & World Report where he blogs at Thomas Jefferson Street. His first book, White House Ghosts: Presidents and Their Speechwriters, was recently published by Simon & Schuster.

His work has appeared in such publications as People, The Washington Monthly,, The Weekly Standard, The Washington Post, the Washington Examiner, and Campaigns & Elections magazine among others.

He teaches a course on political reporting at Boston University's Washington Journalism Center, where he also edits.

He also blogs at Robert Emmet and his thoughts on sports can be found at

From 2001 to early 2004, he was a DC reporter for The Boston Globe, covering issues ranging from energy and the environment to national security and the Pentagon. Earlier, he was chief congressional correspondent for (2000), a political Internet site, and a reporter and Political Editor at The
Hill (1997-2000), which covers Congress. Prior to joining The Hill, he learned investigative journalism while doing research on the chemical industry and on advisers to presidential candidates at the Center for Public Integrity.

A graduate of Middlebury College, he lives in Alexandria, Va. with his wife and dog.

He can be reached at

Entries by Robert Schlesinger

Larry Summers Contradicts Himself on US-Cuba Policy

(4) Comments | Posted April 19, 2009 | 11:41 AM

One of the disappointments of the Obama administration thus far has been the extent to which it has embraced the traditional U.S. policy toward Castro-run Cuba. Yes, the president lifted Bush 43-era restrictions on Cuban-Americans traveling to the isolated island, but that leaves in place a travel ban for the...

Read Post

America Did Torture -- Lincoln's Assassins

(43) Comments | Posted April 16, 2009 | 2:10 PM

The torture memos are being released today and will undoubtedly appall us.

But keep in mind that there is precedent for the U.S. government torturing:

All eight of those brought to trial ... were locked up in single cells, each only 3.5 feet wide by 7 feet long. Six had...
Read Post

Laura Tyson: "The Democratic Coalition Is Badly Broken"

(2) Comments | Posted March 26, 2009 | 11:21 PM

Laura Tyson, on the President's Economic Recovery Advisory Board, says that the "Democratic coalition is badly broken." Do you suppose that struggle over how to deal with the financial crisis is taking its toll on the party?

Read Post

State of the Union Trivia

(0) Comments | Posted February 23, 2009 | 10:00 PM

I had forgotten, but other new presidents have given don't-call-it-a-State-of-the-Union addresses -- Reagan, Clinton and both Bushes gave early-term speeches to Congress that were explicitly billed not as States of the Union.

Of course the States of the Union speech was not always called "State of the Union" and has...

Read Post

Newt Gingrich and the GOP's New Welfare Talking Points

(1) Comments | Posted November 21, 2008 | 12:43 PM

Remember welfare? The GOP does, fondly. Not that they want pre-Clinton welfare programs back, they just want the issue back (kind of how they miss the Cold War but not the Soviets).

So they're trying to bring welfare back, as an issue anyway.

Jack Farrell over at US News's...

Read Post

The Barack Moment

(0) Comments | Posted November 8, 2008 | 3:24 PM

Over at US News's opinion section, we asked African-American scholars and political experts for their reactions to the Obama Election, and got seven great answers from the likes of Cornel West, the NAACP's Benjamin Jealous, Rep. Kendrick Meek and others.

You can check out the whole...

Read Post

Real Patriotism

(1) Comments | Posted October 22, 2008 | 11:21 AM

There's been a lot of good stuff about the nutty comments coming from the right regarding "real America," pro-American parts of the country (read: small towns), and how much we liberals (read: big city) hate the country.

But if you haven't you should check out Jack Farrell's latest...

Read Post

Progressive, Liberal, Lefty -- Call It What You Like, That's Where the Country's Going

(16) Comments | Posted October 19, 2008 | 1:52 PM

Jonathan Alter has a great piece up looking at the progressive resurgence through which our country is going.

I obviously am particularly favorably inclined toward this passage:

The Schlesinger theory of the cycles of history still makes the most sense. Over the past century, we've moved in roughly 30-year...
Read Post

McCain's Offensive

(2) Comments | Posted October 7, 2008 | 10:45 AM

John McCain is going on the attack. Again.

How many assaults has McCain launched against Barack Obama? There was He's a celebrity egomaniac (this coming from the gang that brought you: We can't solve the financial crisis without me!). There was He's inexperienced (if only Illinois was...

Read Post

Osama bin Laden for John McCain?

(2) Comments | Posted October 2, 2008 | 3:43 PM

Richard Clarke certainly thinks that al Qaeda and Osama might be pro-McCain.

Read Post

The Financial Crisis Bailout Leadership Failure

(2) Comments | Posted September 30, 2008 | 11:10 AM

Don't believe the urban myth that Nancy Pelosi was somehow responsible for the failure of the financial bailout. But also don't believe believe that the blame for this falls squarely with the House GOP leadership.

Monday's vote was a failure of presidential leadership.

I'm not talking about cracking skulls...

Read Post

Bear DNA and John McCain's Silly Science

(3) Comments | Posted September 29, 2008 | 2:57 PM

We've all heard John McCain's tired joke about the pork barrell spending on bear DNA (a paterniy issue or a criminal one -- so funny the first dozen times you hear it ... less so the next 100 times).

I never actually knew the details of the bear DNA...

Read Post

John McCain's Foreign Policy Blunder

(3) Comments | Posted September 26, 2008 | 10:55 PM

Why aren't people making more of the fact that John McCain was flatly, factually wrong about Pakistan being a "failed state?"

Read Post

John McCan Wants the Health Care Industry to be More Like the Banking Industry

(3) Comments | Posted September 20, 2008 | 12:37 PM

John McCain wants the health care industry to be more like the banking industry.

This from a McCain article in Contingencies, the magazine of the American Academy of Actuaries:

Opening up the health insurance market to more vigorous nationwide competition, as we have done over the...
Read Post

Sarah Palin and Energy on John McCain's Ticket

(1) Comments | Posted August 30, 2008 | 11:08 AM

Aside from the obvious, Sarah Palin also brings energy to the GOP ticket--and I don't just mean in the sense of having more verve than her twice-her-age (more or less) running mate.

And I also don't mean it in the sense of bringing energy to a moribund conservative...

Read Post

Lincoln and Douglas, 150 years ago...

(0) Comments | Posted August 21, 2008 | 9:53 PM

So it was 150 years ago today (August 21, 1858) that Abe Lincoln and Stephen Douglas first ascended to a hastily-constructed stage to debate the issues of the day. Well, the issue of the day.

Over at's opinion page, we've started a "Past & Present" feature looking at...

Read Post

Is John McCain Responsible for His Own Negative Campaign?

(17) Comments | Posted August 5, 2008 | 9:55 PM

I was both bemused and annoyed the other night to watch the Hardball crowd try to separate John McCain from the wildly negative tone that his campaign has recently taken. (I'm not the only one who noticed it.)

Andrea Mitchell and company essentially said that John McCain is not...

Read Post

John McCain's and George Bush's Inability to Accept Victory

(3) Comments | Posted July 22, 2008 | 2:51 PM

What exactly is a win in Iraq? John McCain and his writers apparently had trouble defining it to The New York Times's op-ed page, and all we really do know is that once we achieve it, McCain would be happy to have troops there for another 100 years. Or something.

Read Post


(0) Comments | Posted July 18, 2008 | 9:34 PM

Two good questions.

Read Post

John McCain as Teddy Roosevelt?

(2) Comments | Posted July 13, 2008 | 4:14 PM

Not so much.

Read Post