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Edward W. Gillespie is an American Republican political strategist and former Counselor to the President in the George W. Bush White House. Gillespie, along with Jack Quinn, former Chief of Staff to Vice President Al Gore, founded Quinn Gillespie & Associates, a bipartisan lobbying firm.

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Biography

Gillespie was born August 1, 1962 in Browns Mills, New Jersey. He is a graduate of The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. While at CUA he began his career on Capitol Hill as a Senate parking lot attendant. He is married to Cathy Gillespie and has three kids, John, Carrie and Mollie.

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Political career

He began his political career as a telephone solicitor for the Republican National Committee in 1985. He later worked for a decade as a top aide to former House Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-TX), and was a principal drafter of the GOP's 1994 "Contract With America."[citation needed] In 1996, he became Director of Communications and Congressional Affairs for the Republican National Committee under Haley Barbour. In 1997, Gillespie formed Policy Impact Communications, a public affairs communications firm, with Barbour.

From 1999-2008, Gillespie served as a political strategist to several American politicians. In 1999, Gillespie worked as the Press Secretary for the Presidential campaign of John Kasich until his withdrawal from the race. In 2000, Gillespie served as senior communications advisor for the presidential campaign of George W. Bush, organizing the party convention program in Philadelphia for Bush's nomination and Bush's inauguration ceremony. He also played an aggressive role as spokesman for the Bush campaign during the vote recount in Florida.

In 2002, he was a strategist for Elizabeth Dole's 2002 Senate campaign.

In 2003, Gillespie was selected as Chairman of the RNC, serving in that role through the 2004 elections that saw President Bush win re-election and Republicans retain control of the House and Senate. His book "Winning Right" was released in the September of 2006.

Gillespie has been particularly active in his home state of Virginia. He served as Chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia from December 2006 to June 2007. He played a visible role in 2006 Virginia Senate elections as a spokesman for defeated Virginia Senator George Allen. He had been tapped by Allen as a political adviser for a possible presidential run in 2008 before that loss. In February 2009, Virginia Attorney General Bob McDonnell announced that Gillespie will serve as General Chairman of his campaign for Governor.

Role as White House counselor

In late June 2007, President Bush brought Gillespie into the White House on a full-time basis, to replace the departing Counselor to the President Dan Bartlett with the mandate to help raise Bush's flagging popularity ratings. When Karl Rove also departed in August, the Washington Post described Gillespie as stepping up to do part of Karl Rove's job in the White House. Michael A. Fletcher. "As Rove Departs, President Again Turns to Gillespie." Washington Post. August 16, 2007 A later Post article describes Gillespie's role orchestrating a PR unit dedicated to "selling the surge to American voters and the media. Peter Baker et al. "Among Top Officials, 'Surge' Has Sparked Dissent, Infighting." Washington Post. September 9, 2007. According to this article:

From the start of the Bush plan, the White House communications office had been blitzing an e-mail list of as many as 5,000 journalists, lawmakers, lobbyists, conservative bloggers, military groups and others with talking points or rebuttals of criticism...Gillespie arranged several presidential speeches to make strategic arguments, such as comparing Iraq to Vietnam or warning of Iranian interference. When critics assailed Bush for overstating ties between al-Qaeda and the group called al-Qaeda in Iraq, Gillespie organized a Bush speech to make his case. "The whole idea is to take these things on before they become conventional wisdom," said White House communications director Kevin Sullivan. "We have a very short window."

External links

This article uses content from the SourceWatch article on Ed Gillespie under the terms of the GFDL.

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