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Anita Dunn


In office
May 2009[1] – November 30, 2009
Appointed by Barack Obama
Preceded by Ellen Moran
Succeeded by Daniel Pfeiffer

Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Robert Bauer
Children Steven Bauer
Alma mater University of Maryland [2]
Occupation Political media strategist
Executive

Anita Dunn is an American political strategist who served as White House Communications Director from April through November 2009. She is a senior partner at Squier Knapp Dunn Communications in Washington, D.C.

Contents

Life and career

Dunn began her career in the Carter White House, first as an intern for White House Communications Director Gerald Rafshoon and then worked for chief of staff Hamilton Jordan. She worked on the campaign of Senator John Glenn (D-OH), and on Capitol Hill before joining the firm founded by Bob Squier and William Knapp in 1993. She has been the top adviser to Senator Bill Bradley (D-NJ), including serving as the chief strategist for his presidential campaign, Senator Evan Bayh (D-IN), former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD). In 2004, Anita produced the media for Congressman Lloyd Doggett (D-TX).[3] She was hired by then-Senator Barack Obama in 2006 to direct communications and strategy for his political action committee, The Hopefund. This move signaled to many that Obama was planning to run for the presidency. While advising Hopefund and Obama in 2006, she was instrumental in the preparations for the launch of Obama for America, and brought many key staffers to the Obama campaign with whom she had worked in Bayh's and Daschle's offices.

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Obama campaign

In April 2008, it was announced that Dunn, who had joined the Obama campaign in February, would be the director of communications, policy and research operations for Obama for America, where she held the title Senior Adviser and was one of the major decision makers of the Obama campaign. She was featured as one of four top advisers (along with David Axelrod, David Plouffe, and Robert Gibbs) in a 60 Minutes interview held after then President-elect Obama's November 4, 2008 victory speech at Grant Park, Chicago, Illinois. She was described, in the 60 Minutes interview, as, "a relative newcomer who handled communications, research and policy."[4] During the presidential transition of 2008-09, Dunn trained White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs.[citation needed]

Controversies as White House Communications Director

A veteran political operative, Dunn, as interim White House Communications Director, took the lead in the Obama administration's criticism of the Fox News Channel[5] On Sunday, October 11, 2009, she appeared on CNN's Reliable Sources and was asked to clarify a statement she made to Time magazine regarding Fox News, "it's opinion journalism masquerading as news."[6] She responded by saying, "if you were a Fox News viewer in the fall election, what you would have seen would have been that the biggest stories and biggest threats facing America were a guy named Bill Ayers and something called ACORN. The reality of it is that Fox News often operates almost as either the research arm or the communications arm of the Republican Party."[7] She added, "And it's not ideological. Obviously, there are many commentators who have conservative, liberal, centrist, and everybody understands that. But I think what is fair to say about FOX and certainly the way we view it is that it really is more a wing of the Republican Party."[8]

Following her statements, Glenn Beck played on his show a portion of a speech Dunn gave at a high school graduation, during which she referenced Mao-Tse-Tung and Mother Teresa as two of her "favorite political philosophers."[9] Beck stated that the speech revealed Dunn as a Maoist, while Dunn stated that her reference was meant to be ironic, and was a quote borrowed from Republican strategist Lee Atwater.[10]

Dunn left her interim post at the end of November 2009 and was replaced by her deputy Dan Pfeiffer.[11]

Personal life

Dunn, who is 51,[12] is married to President Obama's personal attorney, Robert Bauer, formerly a partner at Perkins Coie who is currently personal counsel to President Obama and the White House Counsel.[13] Robert Bauer has also been the general counsel of Obama for America since January 2007.[1][14] In 2008, Newsweek named Dunn and Bauer the new "power couple" in Washington, D.C.[15]

See also

References

  1. ^ a b "Anita Dunn". http://www.whorunsgov.com/Profiles/Anita_Dunn. Retrieved 2009-10-19. 
  2. ^ "Decision Makers - Anita Dunn". nationaljournal.com. http://www.nationaljournal.com/decisionmakers/dm/13/. Retrieved 2009-11-16. 
  3. ^ Squier Knapp Dunn bio. Company Web site. Retrieved 2010-03-09.
  4. ^ "Obama's Inner Circle Shares Inside Story". CBS.
  5. ^ "Newly Out In Front for White House: An Ol' Pro: Interim Media Strategist Leads Salvo Against Fox" profile by Jason Horowitz, Washington Post staff writer in The Washington Post Wednesday, October 14, 2009; 8:24 AM, accessed October 16, 2009
  6. ^ "Calling 'Em Out: The White House Takes on the Press"
  7. ^ "White House Escalates War of Words With Fox News". Fox News. 2009-10-12. http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2009/10/12/white-house-escalates-war-words-fox-news/. 
  8. ^ "CNN RELIABLE SOURCES". http://transcripts.cnn.com.+October 11, 2009. http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0910/11/rs.01.html. Retrieved 2009-11-01. 
  9. ^ More complete quote from Dunn: The third lesson and tip actually comes from two of my favorite political philosophers: Mao Zedong and Mother Teresa -- not often coupled with each other, but the two people I turn to most to basically deliver a simple point which is: you're going to make choices; you're going to challenge; you're going to say why not; you're going to figure out how to do things that have never been done before. But here's the deal: These are your choices, they are no one else's. In 1947, when Mao Zedong was being challenged within his own party on his plan to basically take China over. Chiang Kai-shek and the Nationalist Chinese held the cities, they had the army, they had the air force, they had everything on their side. And people said, "How can you win? How can you do this? How can you do this, against all of the odds against you?" And Mao Zedong said, you know, "You fight your war, and I'll fight mine." And think about that for a second. You don't have to accept the definition of how to do things and you don't have to follow other peoples choices and paths. Ok? It is about your choices and your path. You fight your own war, you lay out your own path, you figure out what's right for you. You don't let external definition define how good you are internally, you fight your war, you let them fight theirs. Everybody has their own path.
  10. ^ Suzanne Malveaux and Ed Hornick (2009-10-16). "Obama aide fires back at Beck over Mao remarks". CNN News. http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/10/16/beck.dunn/index.html. 
  11. ^ Chris Cillizza (2009-11-10). "Dunn leaving White House, Pfeiffer takes over". Washington Post. http://voices.washingtonpost.com/thefix/white-house/dunn-leaving-white-house-pfeif.html?hpid=topnews. 
  12. ^ , http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/10/14/AR2009101403850.html?hpid=moreheadlines 
  13. ^ "After Months of Denials, Greg Craig Out As White House Counsel". abcnews.com. http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalpunch/2009/11/after-months-of-denials-greg-craig-out-as-white-house-counsel.html. Retrieved 2009-11-13. 
  14. ^ "Bob Bauer". Washington Post Company. http://www.whorunsgov.com/Profiles/Bob_Bauer. Retrieved 2009-10-19. 
  15. ^ "The D.C. Powers - Under Obama, there will be a new elite in Washington. Some of its members:", Newsweek, Dec 20, 2008, http://www.newsweek.com/id/176312 

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
Ellen Moran
White House Communications Director
May 2009 - November 2009
Succeeded by
Dan Pfeiffer

Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Anita Dunn is the interim White House Communications Director.

Sourced

  • We're going to treat them [FOX News] the way we would treat an opponent. As they are undertaking a war against Barack Obama and the White House, we don't need to pretend that this is the way that legitimate news organizations behave.
  • What I think is fair to say about Fox — and certainly it’s the way we view it — is that it really is more a wing of the Republican Party. They take their talking points, put them on the air; take their opposition research, put them on the air. And that’s fine. But let’s not pretend they’re a news network the way CNN is.
    • CNN interview, October 12, 2009. [2]
  • The third lesson and tip actually comes from two of my favorite political philosophers - Mao Tse Tung and Mother Teresa, not often coupled with each other, but the two people that I turn to most to basically deliver a simple point, which is, you're going to make choices. You're going to challenge. You're going to say, "Why not?". You're going to figure out how to do things that have never been done before. But here's the deal: These are your choices, they are no one else's. In 1947, when Mao Zedong was being challenged within his own party on his plan to basically take China over. Chiang Kai-shek and the Nationalist Chinese held the cities, they had the army, they had the air force, they had everything on their side. And people said, "How can you win? How can you do this? How can you do this, against all of the odds against you?" And Mao Zedong said, you know, "You fight your war, and I'll fight mine." And think about that for a second. You don't have to accept the definition of how to do things and you don't have to follow other peoples choices and paths. Ok? It is about your choices and your path. You fight your own war, you lay out your own path, you figure out what's right for you. You don't let external definition define how good you are internally, you fight your war, you let them fight theirs. Everybody has their own path.
    • Speech at the Washington National Cathedral for St. Andrews Episcopal High School's (of Bethesda Maryland) graduation on June 5, 2009. It was broadcast on the Glenn Beck Show, Oct 15, 2009. [3][4]
  • The Mao quote is one I picked up from the late Republican strategist Lee Atwater from something I read in the late 1980s, so I hope I don't get my progressive friends mad at me. The use of the phrase 'favorite political philosophers' was intended as irony, but clearly the effort fell flat -- at least with a certain Fox commentator whose sense of irony may be missing.
    • CNN interview, October 16, 2009. [5]

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