Arianna Huffington

From Academic Kids

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Arianna Huffington talks to the media while campaigning for governor of California at UC Berkeley on September 11, 2003.

Arianna Huffington (born July 15, 1950) is an author and nationally syndicated columnist. She describes herself as a "former right-winger who has evolved into a compassionate and progressive populist."

She was born in Greece as Arianna Stassinopoulos, the daughter of Constantine (a journalist and management consultant) and Elli (Georgiadis) Stassinopoulos. She moved to England at the age of sixteen, and attended Girton College at Cambridge University where she was President of the Cambridge Union Society in 1971 and graduated with a MA in Economics in 1972.

After graduation she moved to London, working as a columnist, critic, and appearing on a number of TV shows. For much of this time she lived with literary critic Bernard Levin, who she had met while the two were panellists on TV show Face the Music. She left Levin in 1980 to move to the US (partly, she later said, because he refused to marry her). On his death in 2004 she called Levin "The big love of my life".

In 1986 she married Mike Huffington.

In 2000, she instigated the 'Shadow Conventions', which appeared in both the cities of the Republican National Convention in Philadelphia and the Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles. To one of the attendees at the Shadow Convention in Philadelphia, State Rep. Mark B. Cohen of Philadelphia, "the subjects of the Shadow Convention--campaign finance reform, reform of America's drug laws, fighting the causes of poverty, reducing corporate influence on the political process--showed that she had come a long way from her days as a Gingrich backer while remaining a registered Republican."

Arianna Huffington heads The Detroit Project, a pressure group lobbying automakers to start producing "cars that will end our dependence on foreign oil". The Project's 2003 TV ads, which equated driving sport utility vehicles to funding terrorism, proved to be particularly controversial, with some stations refusing to run them. Huffington herself drives a gas-electric hybrid car, the Toyota Prius.

Huffington was an independent candidate to replace California governor Gray Davis in the 2003 recall election. She described her candidacy against front-runner Arnold Schwarzenegger as "the hybrid versus the Hummer," making reference to Schwarzenegger's ownership of that gas-guzzling vehicle. She dropped out of the race on September 30, 2003, to try to get the recall defeated saying it was the only way to prevent Schwarzenegger from becoming Governor. "I'm pulling out, and I'm going to concentrate every ounce of time and energy over the next week working to defeat the recall because I realize now that's the only way to defeat Arnold Schwarzenegger," she said. Huffington's name still appeared on the ballot and she placed 5th in a field of 135 candidates, capturing 0.6% of the votes.

Although she does not normally support Democrats, in an appearance on Jon Stewart's Daily Show, she announced her endorsement of John Kerry on the rationale that "When your house is burning down, you don't worry about the remodeling."

Arianna Huffington has written several books including:

Huffington is co-host of the nationally syndicated public radio program Left, Right and Center. She was originally introduced by the moderator as occupying the chair "from the right," but is now described as "coming from the fourth dimension of political time and space."

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