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August 30, 2006

Kerry's April Boyd to Become Tauscher's Chief

Following up on our previous post about John Kerry seeking a new press secretary, an anonymous tipster tell us that current Kerry press secretary April Boyd will soon become Chief of Staff to Rep. Ellen Tauscher (D-CA). In a former life Boyd was Tauscher's CD, so this is a bit of a homecoming for her...

A Pregnant Man?

This has nothing to do with Potomac Flacks. I just think it's awesome.

August 29, 2006

Ex-Shelby Flack to Ogilvy

From WP's Sarasohn's column last week:

Moving about town . . . Andrew Gray , formerly communications director for the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee under the chairmanship of Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), has joined Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide . Gray had also been deputy press secretary for Shelby.

The Hill's Hottest Mouthpieces

Okay, so I'm extremely late in posting this, but earlier this month The Hill did their annual "50th Most Beautiful People on Capitol Hill" puff feature. Here's a shameless tribute to the press types that made the cut. Before any of the awardees' heads get to big, remember that being attractive in DC is like being the senior intern or the tallest man in China...

#2 Kevin Madden, 34
Spokesman for Majority L
eader John Boehner

#3 Lauren Huly, 23
Communications director, Rep. Louie Gohmert

#6 Kimberly Hunter, 23
Assistant press secretary - DNC

Brian Kaveney
Communications Director, Rep. Dan Lungren

Brooke Adams
Spokeswoman, House Veterans Affairs Committee

Maureen Ryan
Assistant Press Secretary, Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.)

Melanie Roussell
Press secretary, Rep. William Jefferson (D-La.)

Sam Arora
Press aide, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's (D-N.Y.) reelection campaign

August 27, 2006

Isikoff Scoop on Armitage and Plamegate

It's long been suspected that ex-Deputy SecState Richard Armitage was Bob Novak's first source for his column outing Valerie Plame -- the source whom Novak described as "no partisan gunslinger." Now Michael Isikoff has a blockbuster preview of his new book in which several sources confirm as much:
Armitage, a well-known gossip who loves to dish and receive juicy tidbits about Washington characters, apparently hadn't thought through the possible implications of telling Novak about Plame's identity. "I'm afraid I may be the guy that caused this whole thing," he later told Carl Ford Jr., State's intelligence chief.
A few thoughts:
  1. It is simply amazing that this news has held as long as it has. Isikoff writes that Colin Powell, Armitage and Carl Ford were the only people who knew of Armitage's role. Does that make them somewhat culpable, from a PR or a legal perspective?

  2. Does Armitage currently have a PR person on retainer to help him plot through his next steps. This certainly qualifies as a "crisis communications" moment.

  3. Isikoff mentions that his new book, from which this news is adapted, is coauthored with David Corn, a prominent liberal and Washington editor of The Nation. Will the fact that Iskikoff's coauthor has a partisan ax to grind minimize the impact of his scoop? Will it make it easier for the RNC and White House to dismiss the report, and the book?
Other thoughts on the Isikoff scoop?

August 22, 2006

Time Magazine's New Deadlines

By now you've probably heard that Time Magazine is shifting it Monday publication date to Fridays, meaning that its deadline will now be midweek instead of Saturday night. According to the WSJ:

By hitting newsstands before the weekend, rather than at the start of the workweek, Time's publisher Time Inc. hopes to make the magazine more appealing to busy readers... "You want to be in the hands of people when they're ready and eager to read Time magazine, which is Friday, Saturday and Sunday," said Richard Stengel, the recently appointed managing editor of Time. "Monday morning, people's lives take off in a rush, and if they ever kick back, it's on Friday evening."
As a reader, I don't know that it will make any difference to me when Time hits the newsstands. I'll probably do the same thing I do now - read its news-breaking pieces on the web as soon as I hear about them, and then buy the magazine when I'm about to board an airplane and need something to read.

(As an aside, I imagine that Time's new sked will brighten the lives of many of its writers. Time and Newsweek scribes now face a scramble every Friday and Saturday to finish their pieces, particularly when news breaks, then they typically have Sundays and Mondays off. I don't know about you, but I'd much rather have the same Saturday-Sunday weekend as everyone else. Anyway...)

While most DC PR people I know don't deal with Time Magazine on a a regular basis, there are a number of DC pubs that also have interesting publication schedules. For example...

  • National Journal hits office every Friday morning, which means they have to close out the issue by Wednesday. The hardest part of this, I imagine, is that they write a weekly feature on what's happened on the Hill that week. Kind of difficult to do when the week isn't even half over yet.

  • Roll Call's Monday edition wraps on Friday, and then is actually delivered to Hill offices on Saturdays. Which means RC has to be extra careful to craft stories for its Monday edition that won't be stale by then. Of course, clever Hill press secretaries (and especially those with too much time on their hands) know to drop by their offices on Saturdays to pick up Roll Call and get a jump on any big stories in the Monday edition.

WPP Group Gobbling up PR Firms

I may be a bit late in picking up this news, but it appears that the WPP group, a massive London-based conglomerate of communications, marketing and lobbying firms around the world, has just gobbled up two communications/public affairs firms that have a significant presence here in DC.

First, I read in Jeff Birnbaum's column yesterday (second item) that WPP has acquired Public Strategies, which is based in Austin but has a presence here in DC. The list of Public Strategies' DC staff includes Hill vets Mark Schuermann and Mary Meagher, and ex-Hardball producer and White House asst. press secretary Adam Levine.

Birnbaum teases that

Rumor has it that WPP is about to buy another K Street company soon.
So this morning I read in PR Week that WPP has also acquired the Dewey Square Group, a very well-known Democratic firm that does grassroots, public affairs, and communications, for a mix of corporate and campaign clients. PR Week says it was announced last Thursday the 17th, so I'm sort of scratching my head that it wasn't mentioned in Birnbaum's column. Anyway, Dewey Square is home to such Democratic campaign vets as Kiki McLean, Minyon Moore, and Michael Whouley, whom the press can't seem to write about without calling him "reclusive" and "press-shy."

Who might be next on WPP's shopping list?

August 18, 2006

Friday People: K Street Project Waning?

A roundup of the latest people news from DC flackdom...
  • Fresh evidence that Grover's K Street Project is one the wane? Jeff Birnbaum reports that the Biotech Industry Organization (BIO) just named Democrat Jeff Joseph as VP of Comms. Joseph comes to BIO from the Consumer Electronics Association, the people who bring the world (and a few lucky congressional staffers) the massive Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas every January. You may remember that in 2004 BIO picked ex-Republican Rep. Jim Greenwood as its president, over ex-Dem Rep. Cal Dooley (my ex-boss).

  • Chris Stenrud, ex-Daschle/Senate Dem head and ex-GMMB, has opened DC office for SF-based PR shop Allison & Partners. Joining Stenrud is Katrin Olson, ex-flack for Environmental Defense (WP Special Interests)

August 17, 2006

Technorati Profile

Technorati Profile

New Wyden CD: Melissa Merz

The CD job in Sen. Ron Wyden's shop has been vacant for about two months since Jill Greenberg left for AARP, but National Journal reports it's been filled by Hill vet Melissa Merz:
For the past three years, Merz has been working in Chicago as the press secretary to Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan. Merz, 38, started her career on Capitol Hill in 1991, shortly after earning a bachelor's degree in journalism from Northwestern University. Initially, she was a receptionist for then-Rep. George Crockett, D-Mich. She next worked briefly as press secretary for then-Rep. Jim Jontz, D-Ind., before spending four years in the press office of then-Rep. Frank McCloskey, D-Ind.

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    Matt Mackowiak is a Washington, D.C. and Austin,TX-based Republican strategist and communications consultant and President of Potomac Strategy Group, LLC. In his career he has managed a winning Congressional campaign and worked in the U.S. Senate, at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, at a leading international PR firm, on a presidential campaign in Iowa and in White House presidential advance. Follow him on Twitter - @MattMackowiak

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    Laura Gross is currently president of Scott Circle Communications. She has served as deputy director of communications at the DNC, was Gov. Howard Dean's Communications Director and she worked in the press office at USAID during the Clinton administration. Her experience also includes time in the PR department of National Public Radio and she was part of Vice President Gore's advance team when he was in The White House.
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    Blain K. Rethmeier - Contributor
    Blain K. Rethmeier is currently the Senior Vice President for Public Affairs for the American Insurance Association (AIA). Rethmeier joined AIA from the White House where he served as Special Assistant to the President for Communications and directed communications for the National Economic Council and Homeland Security Council. Prior to joining the White House, Rethmeier served as Press Secretary for the Senate Judiciary Committee.
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