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The White House Director of Communications, also known as Assistant to the President for Communications, is part of the senior staff of the President of the United States, and is responsible for developing and promoting the agenda of the President and leading its media campaign. The director, along with his or her staff, works on speeches such as the inaugural address and the State of the Union Address. The Communications Director is usually given an office in the West Wing of the White House.

The current Director of Communications is Dan Pfeiffer [1], who replaced Anita Dunn in November 2009.

Contents

Role

Historically, the position of White House Communications Director is given to a senior public relations staff member of the candidate's campaign staff. Often this is either the Deputy Campaign Manager or the Campaign Communications Director. The Communications Director works closely with the White House Press Secretary, who was typically a co-worker in the president's campaign. For instance, during the 1992 Clinton Presidential Campaign, George Stephanopoulos was Deputy Campaign Manager, who became the Communications Director after Clinton's election.

Responsibilities

As the President's voice and vision must be clear, the Communications Director must ensure that all aspects of communications are covered to ensure that the administration's message has been delivered successfully. A communications strategy must be devised to promote the President's agenda throughout all media outlets. This can include, but certainly are not limited to, the State of the Union address, televised press conferences, statements to the press, and radio addresses. The communications office also works closely with cabinet level departments and other executive agencies in order to create a coherent strategy through which the President's message can be disseminated.

With the growing importance of the Internet and New Media in terms of Presidential communication, the Office of Communications is having to branch out, and this have been given an added impetus by the election of Barack Obama who made large use of the internet, and more specifically social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter to reach out to his supporters in order to solicit donations and spread his campaign message.

Key Staff

  • Assistant to the President for Communications and White House Communications Director: Dan Pfeiffer
    • Special Consultant to the President for Media Affairs: Anita Dunn
    • Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy Director of Communications: Vacant
    • Assistant to the President and Director of Speechwriting: Jon Favreau[2]
      • Director of New Media: Macon Phillips[3]
      • Director of Media Affairs: Christina Reynolds[3]
      • Director of Broadcast Media: Dag Vega[3]
      • Director of Specialty Media: Shin Inouye[3]
      • Director of Hispanic Media: Luis Miranda[3]
      • Director of Citizen Participation: Katie Stanton[3]
      • Director of African American Media: Corey Ealons[3]

Directors since 2001

Fiction

In the popular television show The West Wing, a series that portrayed a United States Government administration, Toby Ziegler (played by Richard Schiff) served as President Bartlet's Communications Director.

Footnotes

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