« November 2006 | Main | January 2007 »

December 29, 2006

Edwards' Spokesguys and Spokesgals

Chris Cillizza's roundup of John Edwards' inner circle includes these new tidbits about who will be doing what on the comms front:

  • Longtime PAC spokeswoman Kim Rubey has decided to head into the consulting world, and will not be a part of the '08 campaign.
  • Jonathan Prince: "Tasked with moving the candidate's message, serving in a senior communications role."
  • David Ginsberg: "Like Prince, Ginsberg will playing a senior communications/messaging role, though for the first six months (or so) of the campaign he will be based in D.C., not Raleigh."
  • Jennifer Palmieri: "Palmieri will be working with Prince and Ginsburg on the communications front and also will be involved with the group charged with handling Elizabeth Edwards..."

December 28, 2006

Hughes Sponsoring PR Summit On Getting the World to Like Us

Karenhughes_1 PR Week reports that the State Department is hosting a PR summit January 9-10 with approximately 200 PR types and senior State Dept reps., to "examine problems in U.S. public diplomacy and to devise 'best practices' for redressing such problems, including actions the private sector can take to help." Whatever that means.

The event is the brainchild of former WH comms czar and current State Dept. Undersecretary Karen Hughes (left), as well as assistant secretary for educational and cultural affairs Dina Habib Powell. And lest you think this will be just another talkfest, PR week says that "one goal of the summit is the identification of 10 'action steps' that companies can take to support US public diplomacy, which has been criticized in recent years for failing to stem negative perceptions of the US abroad."

Ford's Death Puts Crimp in Edwards Rollout

Johnedwards_1While we said last week that John Edwards' plans to announce his 2008 campaign this week were smart from a PR/timing perspective, that was before we knew that former President Ford was going to pass away this week.  Ford's death clearly sucks some oxygen away from Edwards' story today (kinda like Team Edwards itself tried to suck the oxygen out of Evan Bayh's announcement about not running).

It's not the only example of the Edwards team being unable to catch a break.  The AP caught the campaign pre-announcing Edwards' decision on the web yesterday.  And this morning, Edwards' 9am ET announcement press conference earned something short of roadblocked cable news coverage.  Only CNN covered Edwards live for more than a few minutes, and as they cut away from the live feed their talking-head commentary (including NPR's Ken Rudin) was pretty negative on Edwards.

We noticed that former Edwards spokesgal Jennifer Palmieri is doing most of the on-the-record work for the nascent campaign, but is being described as an "Edwards adviser."  Will Palmieri be taking leave from her position at the Center for American Progress to help out, and/or will new faces fill the comm director / press secretary roles for Edwards?

Thursday People: Kohl Flack To Promote Cures

  • Patrick Morris leaves his post as press secretary to Sen. Herb Kohl (D-WI) to become VP for external relations and comms at FasterCures/the Center for Accelerating Medical Solutions, a nonprofit created under the auspices of the Milken Institute (Wash Post)

  • Kara Ross joins Qorvis Communications as a senior director.  She did previous stints as a Clinton White House Midwest spokeswoman, and with ACS Government Solutions, the Transportation Department, the Defense Department and former senator John Glenn (D-Ohio) (Wash Post).

December 23, 2006

Rehberg Flack Canned After Trying to Change College Grades

Dennyrehberg We aren't proud of some of our college grades, but we've never considered trying to hack into our alma mater's computer system to try to change 'em.  Not so for Todd Shriber, press secretary to Rep. Denny Rehberg (R-MT, left).

The Billings Gazette reports that Shriber was fired Thursday after confessing that he tried to hire hackers to break into the Texas Christian University system, in an effort to improve his grades for grad school apps.

But instead of actually helping Shriber, "the individuals he contacted turned Shriber's solicitation into an elaborate prank at Shriber's expense, ending with a fictional and profanity-laced account in which the hackers claimed they had been caught and urged Shriber to 'duck and run.'"

Check out the whole hilarious e-mail exchange between Shriber and the not-hackers.

December 20, 2006

Snow Points The "Way Forward," But Sounds Ready for Vacation

Tonysnow3_1 WH Press Secretary Tony Snow really likes the phrases "the way forward," "a new way forward," and "a better way forward."  So much so that The Caucus calculated he had "uttered the phrase 'way forward' during press briefings more than 50 times since Dec. 5. Before this month, Mr. Snow had used that phrase just 19 times."

In other Snow news, he found himself on the defensive Tuesday over why the WH didn't announce Laura Bush's skin cancer earlier.  FishBowlDC has the highlights.  An exasperated Snow finally tells the press corps, "You guys are really stretching it. I mean, it is now officially a really slow news day."

McCain Snags Bush Message Vet Steve Schmidt

Steveschmidt "Continuing his raid on the top talent from President Bush's 2004 reelection bid, Sen. John McCain has signed Steve Schmidt (left) as a senior adviser to his presidential campaign-in-waiting," The Fix reports

"Schmidt will play a leading role in message development and strategy if -- as is likely -- McCain transitions from his current exploratory effort to a full-fledged presidential race."

Schmidt, who directed rapid response for the Bush '04 campaign, won praise earlier this year for setting up a top-notch comms operation for CA Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's re-election campaign.

Presidential Campaign Rollouts 101: A Few Suggestions

Tomvilsack2 Tom Vilsack (right) has already announced his '08 campaign, and John Edwards will roll out next week.  But what about the rest of the field?  The Fix's Chris Cillizza shares the suggestions of several Johns Hopkins students for how the rest of the field should launch their candidacies in style.  Some of the ideas ain't half bad.

Media Goes Gaga for Members Posting Schedules Online

Punchclock Back in September we told you about the Sunlight Foundation's Punch Clock Campaign, which is trying to get Members of Congress to publish their complete daily schedules online for all to see.  And while press secretaries might be inclined to nix this idea immediately, we argued that it might actually be a smart idea to embrace.

Now the New York Times tells us that Rep.-elect Kirsten Gillibrand will be the first House member to make good on her Sunlight pledge and post her daily schedule.  Just as we predicted back in September, Gillibrand's getting some boffo press by embracing the idea, with the Times editorial calling it "a quiet  touch of revolution." The Sunlight also folks also say that Sen.-elect Jon Tester  has promised to do the same. 

While few Hill flacks will likely warm up to this idea, it's the kind of idea that can generate loads of positive ink back home, as well as earn the boss points as a "reformer."  We'll see if more Members follow Gillibrand and Tester's lead.

Wednesday People: PR Firm Business Developers

  • Michiko M. Morales is a new Senor VP or media relations and new business development at PR firm Global Communicators.  She was previously a VP at Stanton Communications and prior to that was a senior counselor and director of The Martin Agency/SLAY Public Relations (PR Week).
  • J. David Harvey is joining Qorvis Communications as a Managing Director for the firm's marketing and business development for the agency. He was previously a senior business development professional for Washington law firm WilmerHale (PR Week).

About the Authors

  • FOLLOW US: @potomacflacks
  • Matt Mackowiak - Site Manager
    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

    Laura Gross - Contributor
    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.
    Follow her on Twitter: @ScottCircle

    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.
    Follow him on Twitter: @BlainR

    This is a personal group blog whose contents in no way reflect the views of any author's employer.

    Got a tip? Email Matt, Blain or Laura (anonymity guaranteed)

    Potomac Flacks Founder and Author Emeritus: Adam Kovacevich
Powered by TypePad