Home Page

People In The Know

Anita McBride

Presidential Studies Wonk


Cred: Washington Semester Program, American University ’81; B.A, University of Connecticut ’82; Italian Advanced Literature and Language Studies, University of Florence

Livelihood: Executive-in-Residence, Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies, American University; Senior Advisor to the George W. Bush Institute and the Laura W. Bush Women’s Initiative

Interests: Traveling, White House history, advancing women globally, and international education exchange.

Focus: The legacies of America’s first ladies

Last Book You Read: A Time to Heal by Gerald R. Ford and Indomitable Will – LBJ in the Presidency by Mark K. Updegrove

Recent Awards: American University’s Alice Paul Award, 2013

What keeps you up at night? My days are full and busy, and I have little trouble sleeping at night, but when I wake up my first thoughts and concerns are for my kids and that their future will be as filled with possibilities and opportunities as mine has been.

Intellectual Hero: Margaret Thatcher. She was a person of principle, dignity and strength. For women she was a trailblazer; for her country she was a patriot; and for the world she was a defender of freedom.

How did you develop your expertise? I volunteered in the 1980 Presidential campaign and was hooked on politics and civic participation.

What's your advice for aspiring people in your area? Network! You have AU and D.C. to use as your classroom. Work harder than anyone else, take advantage of every opportunity, and build as many quality and meaningful relationships as possible. Volunteer for a campaign; intern on the Hill.

Favorite Quotation: “Don’t leave to tomorrow what you can do today.” I need to follow that advice, though. I have been married 22 years and still haven’t ordered my wedding album!

If you had the resources to create anything, what would it be and why? Despite believing in capitalism I am sadly not an entrepreneur. I have a lot of great ideas but just have not figured out how to get paid for them.

If we know anything with certainty, what is it? We pay too many taxes before we die.

Are You a Wonk? With White House service spanning two decades and three presidential administrations, I better know something about 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Additional Links

AU Profile

AU’s First Ladies Conference