Rockville, Maryland, Feb. 19 – Steve Rabinowitz, former White House director of design and production under the Clinton administration, spoke to RespectAbility’s staff and National Leadership Fellows about his incredible career in political communications. From campaign trail war stories to comedic tales of Air Force One, he entertained and engaged the room, while sprinkling nuggets of wisdom on each of us.
Rabinowitz is well known for his work with President William Jefferson Clinton. Most notably, he revolutionized town hall debates to the intimate and personal format that exists today. And he brilliantly orchestrated the historic White House lawn handshake between Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Palestinian Liberation Organization Leader Yasser Arafat for the Oslo Accords.
Rabinowitz’s achievements are far-reaching and truly astounding. But his personality and character made the greatest impression. He regaled the RespectAbility team with incredible tales of success and defeat. He reminisced about working on the Hill in the 1970s, where “robo letters,” template letters generated via typewriter memory, were standard practice and facsimile machines were a dream come true. He spoke of the privilege of working as a youth coordinator, organizing on college campuses. He joked of the days before the Clinton campaign, when campaigns nicknamed him the “kiss of death” for his consistent losing streak in elections. And he shared memories of going on the presidential campaign trail with Bob Kerry, a Vietnam veteran amputee, who brought along his various wooden prosthetic legs for every occasion. [continue reading…]