David Bender is the host of Air America Radio’s Politically Direct. Previously he was “political guru” on The Rachel Maddow Show and co-host of Ring of Fire with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Mike Papantonio.
Bender began his political career at the age of 12, when he took a "leave of absence" from the seventh grade to volunteer full-time for Robert Kennedy’s presidential campaign. He was present at Kennedy's assassination at the Ambassador Hotel. As a high school reporter, Bender covered the presidential campaigns of Nixon, McGovern, and Humphrey, and later became an aide to the legendary liberal activist Allard K. Lowenstein. Bender was one of the first field organizers for the Human Rights Campaign Fund and served on the board of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation.
Bender has also worked in the television and music industries; as senior executive in Stephen Stills’ production company, vice president of Tom and Roseanne Arnold’s television production unit, and as the Democratic National Committee’s liaison to the entertainment industry after Clinton’s election in 1992. When the late John Kennedy launched George magazine in 1995, he chose Bender as its first West Coast contributing editor.
In 2003, Bender returned to politics as a senior advisor to Howard Dean's presidential campaign before joining Air America as its political director during the 2004 election. He is the author or co-author of four books, including Stand and Be Counted, a chronicle of activism in the music industry, written with musician David Crosby.