Donna Brazile has been the go-to strategist for Democratic politicians like Bill Clinton and Al Gore and a favorite pundit for news shows like "The Situation Room" and "American Morning." She has also become Hollywood's one-to-tap for political dramas, with cameos on shows like "House of Cards," "K Street" and "The Good Wife," on which she appeared on for the third time Sunday night.
"I enjoy politics but if I had a third career -- and I've had multiple careers -- my third act would be acting," Brazile tells U.S. News.
Before running presidential campaigns and vice-chairing the Democratic National Committee, Brazile acted in plays as a college student at Louisiana State University and is currently a member if the Screen Actors Guild.
"Every actor or actress I've seen in the last couple years, I go up [and say], 'I want to be an actress when I grow up. I want to be just like you,'" she says.
In her past stints on "The Good Wife," Brazile has shown up to counsel the fictional Chicago politician Peter Florrick (Chris Noth ), who after publicly cheating on his wife, Alicia (Julianna Margulies), has been able to rehabilitate his career and get elected governor of Illinois. On Sunday's episode, Peter's political strategist, Eli (Alan Cummings), brings her on again to size up Peter's chances on being a vice presidential contender in the 2016 presidential race.
"Now he's not presidential material – yet – but clearly putting him in a position to keep his ambitions going – that's the job of a strategist," Brazile tells U.S. News.
Brazile says she has no problem learning her lines for this and other cameos, but it's appearing alongside established actors and actresses like Noth and Margulies that gets her nerves going.
"These are men and women on the top of their game, and you want to be on the top of your game, but you're not an actress," she says."They are constantly telling you, just be yourself, it's natural. To them it is natural. It's like picking up a spoon to eat cereal. For me it's like, [gasp] I'm used to being on a lot of television, but there's nothing like acting."
She continues, "The hard part is all of the sudden when they hit 'action' you're looking across from Chris Noth. You're in the back of a limo with Chris Noth – 'Big' from 'Sex and the City' – and my mind is racing to 'Sex and the City.'"
Sharing a limo with 'Big' is not the only perk of Brazile's "The Good Wife" appearances.
"The best part about all of this is that I get to sit down with a costume designer and I know that I am capable of looking good," Brazile says. "I had Mrs. Florrick – Alicia – laughing: 'So now I understand this whole thing about zippers. Ok? For sexual purposes they have that zip down.'"
Brazile, a long-time fan of the show, says she loves the way it mixes the "thrill of being in the courtroom" and "the drama of politics" with "a little sex in between."
"All it's missing is a couple of reporters," she says.
Now in its fifth season, "The Good Wife" has been recently picking up critical steam, particularly by pitting Alicia against her former lover and law partner Will Gardner (Josh Charles). It's a civil war in which super-fan Brazile says she's on Team Alicia.
"She's a woman in her 40s, a middle-aged lawyer, a high powered professional woman – who wouldn't root for her?" Brazile says.
Sunday's episode also ended with a spit-take cliff hanger, with Peter's pregnant ethical counsel (Melissa George) revealing she would be naming her son Peter – the suggestion being that the child may be his. "The Good Wife" creators Robert and Michelle King have promised the next episode will jump right in with the revelation, but unfortunately, that new episode doesn't come until the new year.
"I don't share secrets," says Brazile, who has known of the big reveal for several weeks. "All I could tell you is that it's well worth the wait over the Christmas holiday."