Tom DeFrank

One of Washington’s most respected President-watchers, Tom DeFrank is an award-winning journalist and author who has covered the White House since the Nixon administration. ABC News calls him "impeccably sourced," “well-connected" and “legendary," and the American Journalism Review named him “one of the unsung heroes of Washington journalism."

DeFrank was Newsweek’s White House correspondent for 25 years and is currently Washington bureau chief of the New York Daily News. He co-authored the memoirs of Secretary of State James Baker and has reported on the resignation of one President, the impeachment of a second, and was an eyewitness to two assassination attempts against a third. President Gerald R. Ford called DeFrank “one of the finest journalists I have ever known. Everyone I know feels the same way: you are fair, trustworthy and professional."

SPEAKER TOPICS
ABOUT Tom DeFrank   (+/-)

Experienced, Perceptive and Shrewd

Admired and acclaimed for his “riveting” reporting, Tom DeFrank is a veteran political journalist and author.  As Washington bureau chief of the New York Daily News since 1996, he directs coverage of the nation’s capital for the country’s third-largest metropolitan daily newspaper.  Previously, DeFrank was Newsweek’s senior White House correspondent for a quarter century and also served as deputy chief of the magazine’s Washington bureau for twelve years.  Assigned to the White House beat since 1970, DeFrank has covered eight Presidents: Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush and Obama. He is second only to Helen Thomas in terms of longevity on the White House beat and still spends most of his time reporting on the White House.

Celebrated Journalist, Captivating Storyteller

DeFrank has garnered countless honors and accolades throughout his distinguished career.  He is the only newsmagazine correspondent to win both of the White House Correspondents’ Association awards for distinguished Presidential reporting.  He has also shared in several other reporting honors, including the Overseas Press Club’s award for his reporting of the 1987 Reagan-Gorbachev summit and Newsweek’s National Magazine Award for the 1992 Presidential campaign.

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SPEAKER TOPIC DESCRIPTIONS    (+/-)

A Tale of Eight Presidents: Eyewitness to History from Nixon to Obama

Tom DeFrank’s most popular presentation combines provocative, unconventional and revealing insights into the Presidency with entertaining anecdotes based on his unparalleled experiences covering the White House for over three decades.  He offers candid accounts and frank assessments of the various Presidents and their administrations’ performance, including an in-depth look at current officeholder Barak Obama.  Finally, DeFrank concludes this engaging, informative presentation with a preview of the 2010 and 2012 elections – the key players, the behind-the-scenes machers and the other interested-but not-so-obvious parties that will play a critical role in what results – and what doesn’t.

Stories that Never Made it into Print: Backstairs at the White House

Drawing on his vast library of prose, an impeccable memory and extraordinary personal encounters with the last eight administrations, Tom DeFrank enthralls audiences with his favorite stories that were never published and weaves them into a compelling, entertaining presentation that is pure storytelling at its best.

A Ford, Not a Lincoln: Remarkable Off-The-Record Conversations with the 38th President

Tom DeFrank met President Gerald Ford conducting an interview with him as a young Newsweek correspondent.  Over the next 32 years, they developed an extraordinary relationship and, in 1991 to shortly before Ford's death in 2006, DeFranks’ regular interviews with Ford transformed into “something else” conversations between two men in which Ford talked in a way few presidents ever have. 

Intimate and insightful, DeFrank offers audiences an unprecedented look into the real Gerald Ford, his presidency and his life.  Ford’s relationship with Richard Nixon; his complex relationships with Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter; his startling, never-before-disclosed discussions with Bill Clinton during the latter's impeachment process; his opinions about both Bush administrations, the Iraq war, and many contemporary political figures, unguarded personal musings about his own life, his beloved wife, Betty and the frustrations of aging – and much more.  DeFrank discusses all of this in a presentation that is illuminating, entertaining, surprising, heartwarming, and, in many ways, historic.

The Media: Myths and Realities about the Institution Everyone Loves to Hate

This is a humorous and provocative primer on the press.  What is fact and what is fiction about the media, they events they cover and the stories they report?  DeFrank discusses the media’s foibles and frailties and explains why reporters behave like they do – and why it is unlikely to ever change.  He punctuates this engaging presentation with amusing anecdotes and accounts of reporters, their sources and their newsrooms.

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