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December 23, 2008

Politico Reporter Becomes Hill Flack

MediaBistro has obtained a memo from Politico about some staff departures. One former Politico staff member, Dan Reilly, will now be Rep. Ed Markey's (D-Mass.) new communications director.  According to the memo, Reilly held many roles at Politico, including as a Capitol Hill reporter. (MediaBistro).

Wolfson Joins Mayor Bloomberg

Images Former Hillary Clinton communications director, Howard Wolfson, is joining Mayor Michael Bloomberg's re-election campaign. Team Bloomberg reached out to Wolfson and asked him to join the team. I guess this puts any rumors to rest about Wolfson joining Sen. Clinton at the State Department. So, does this mean that Doug Hattaway will be at the podium at State? 

See Wolfson's interview with NY 1. (NY 1). 

December 22, 2008

Wolfson, Palmieri, Cutter, Backus and More. . .

Mike Allen at Politico is reporting a variety of rumors about where communications pros are going to work in the administration. Among the speculations:

Jenny Backus, an advisor to the Obama campaign and a constant communications force in Democratic politics might end up at HHS. 

Howard Wolfson, FOX commentator, Glover Park Group partner and for Sen. Clinton communications director is rumored to be going to State. 

Doug Hattaway is also being considered for the podium job at State. 

Jennifer Palmieri is rumored to be going DOD.

Isaac Baker, a Sen. Clinton campaign alum and Ohio communications director for Obama, might be working at Commerce with Richardson. 

Stephanie Cutter, Michelle Obama's chief of staff during the campaign and Sen. Kerry's former communications director during the 2004 campaign might be headed to Treasury. 

Matt Miller, current communications director at the DSCC is possibly going to be working at the Justice department. 

Sean Smith, Obama's Pennsylvania communications director might be the chief communicator at DHS. 

December 17, 2008

Inviting current and former Senate Flacks to Senate Press Secretaries Annual NYC Conference

I_heart_ny More than 40 years ago, the Senate Press Secretaries Association (SPSA) was founded as a bi-partisan forum for press secretaries from both sides of the senate floor to meet, mingle, and share ideas. Today the SPSA is the largest and most proactive of Capitol Hill's professional organizations aimed at communicators.

Sign up now to attend this year's SPSA Annual Conference in New York City at www.senatepress.org on January 8-10.  Don't miss the all-star lineup that includes Mayor Bloomberg, the NY Yankees, Jon Stewart, CNBC and more!

All members of SPSA must be current or former members of a Senate communications office.

BSA Names Three New Executives in Communications and Policy Roles

Bsa The Business Software Alliance (BSA) today announced it has hired three experienced professionals to fill key positions within the global software industry association.  Dale Curtis will serve as Vice President of Communications. Dale comes to BSA from a six-year stint at FD Dittus Communications, where he was a vice president in the firm’s Technology and Telecommunications Practice and was the lead executive on the BSA account. David Ohrenstein will serve as Director of Emerging Markets on BSA’s policy team, a new position.  David comes from Fontheim International, where he advised clients on international trade, business, and government relations matters.  Lastly, Maureen Ohlhausen joins BSA as Technology Policy Counsel. From 1997 to the present, she has served as a senior official at the US Federal Trade Commission, most recently as director of the Office of Policy Planning. (PF Tipster)

NY Times Magazine - "Between Obama and the Press"

Politico Playbook has excerpts of Sunday's New York Times Magazine piece by Mark Leibovich on incoming White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs and the Obama communications philosophy – “Between Obama and the Press.”

Obama insiders tend to shudder at any parallels to George W. Bush, but many reporters and rivals have noted the "Bush-like" tendencies the Obama campaign demonstrated in its ability to control information. The comparison is generally meant as a compliment (albeit a grudging one) by members of the press and expressed enviously by veterans of other campaigns. [Campaign manager David] Plouffe himself admitted to me that the Obama campaign subscribed to the "Bush model" of communications discipline. Asked if Obama himself spoke of the ‘‘Bush model," Plouffe told me he did. "We talked a lot about the Bush model, which is that there are a few people who really know everything," Plouffe told me in early December. That helps ensure an airtight bubble of knowledge.
Like the Bush model, the Obama model also clearly allowed for combat with the press, sometimes extending to punishment, which was usually doled out by Gibbs. In the course of the campaign, especially at the end, a smattering of reporters claimed that they were left off the Obama plane in retribution for negative reports they had filed or for the perceived sins of their news outlets (i.e. endorsing John McCain). Campaign officials denied ever taking such actions -usually citing "space reasons."
I asked Gibbs if any journalists had been kept off the Obama plane for reasons other than space. "No," he said at first, but then added, ‘‘on occasion yes.’’ It was rare, he added. "I mean, were there occasions? Sure."
In a phone interview, Obama said he was not surprised by the leaky few weeks his administration-in-waiting has endured. "The transition involves an awful lot of people who don’t actually work for me," he said. "You’ve got a slew of volunteers in every agency in the vetting process. You’ve got F.B.I. folks involved when it comes to appointments. So we anticipated that we weren’t going to be able to march in lock step on our communications as effectively."
Obama’s advisers today convey some weary acknowledgment, if not shell shock, over how they no longer inhabit the contained decision-making cocoon of a few months ago. "The campaign is over," Plouffe told me. "It’s never going to be the same. I think everyone is wistful."
Obama said that it will be easier to replicate the leak-free environment of the campaign "once we get into the building," meaning the White House. But he is also realistic: "This is Washington. Or it will be Washington."
Gibbs will report to [incoming White House Chief of Staff Rahm] Emanuel but will have walk-in privileges in the Oval Office, about 25 feet from his own. As in the campaign, the Obama White House will be "very collegial" and "not excessively hierarchical," Axelrod said.
But the president-elect is unequivocal in saying that he expects the podium to be Gibbs’s "singular" priority. ‘‘He will continue to be in our strategic meetings," Obama said, "but his focus is going to be on making sure that, when speaking for me or the White House, he’s got it all buttoned down."

On a team known for its cerebral, even-tempered approach, Gibbs is something of a scrappy populist.….He counts himself a member of an organization called Rednecks for Obama, started by two old guys from Missouri operating out of a pick-up truck. He is a proud owner of a Rednecks for Obama T-shirt, button, bumper sticker and sign, all of which he says he will take to his office at the White House.
Before hanging up I asked Obama about his favorite movie, "The Godfather" -specifically, which character Gibbs most reminded him of. Obama mentioned the Robert Duvall consigliere, Tom Hagen. "And I’ve seen a little bit of Sonny in him once in a while," he added.

December 16, 2008

Biden's New Communications Team

Images Vice President-elect Biden has selected his communications staff. As I blogged about yesterday, Jay Carney from TIME Magazine will be the new communications director. And, there are some new additions - Elizabeth Alexander will be the press secretary. Elizabeth was most recently Biden's communications director in his Senate office. Annie Tomasini will serve as the deputy press secretary. She currently serves as the deputy press secretary to Biden for the transition, she worked for the Obama campaign and Annie was also the press secretary in Biden's Senate office. (Talking Points Memo)

December 15, 2008

Jay Carney of TIME to become a Flack

Carneybiden Mark Halperin of TIME's The Page is reporting that Jay Carney of TIME Magazine is going to be Biden's director of communications. (The Page)


The National Hospice & Palliative Care Organization's Public Policy Team seeks a Manager of Advocacy Communications to provide communications support and media/public relations outreach for end-of-life care advocacy issues. Duties include developing and implementing an advocacy communications plan; writing and producing news releases, articles, op-ed pieces; building relationships with public and health policy reporters and media outlets; assisting membership with media outreach, advocacy activities, support and planning for Congressional meetings; evaluating media outreach efforts; providing media relations and logistics support for special events. Requires strong writing, editing, desktop publishing, communications skills, a degree in a related field, experience on/with Capitol Hill. Send cover letter w/salary requirements and writing samples to [email protected]. (PF Tipster)

December 12, 2008

Future of PR in this Economy

Picnet_r1_c1 The Public Realtions Society of America of National Capital Chapter (PRSA-NCC) is sponsoring a seminar entitled "The PR Employment Environment as we Enter 2009." 

2009 looks like it is going to be a very challenging year for public relations professionals. Will budgets be cut as the recession continues? Will organizations downsize to reflect diminished revenues? These are subjects debated daily within the PR community. But, much of what's discussed is anecdotal: it's based on who you talk to and who that individual has contacted.  The PRSA-NCC Professional Development committee is holding this special session - at reduced cost - to separate fact from fiction. Join the session and get the most up to date assessment of what is really happening

The PR Employment Environment as we Enter 2009
When: Wednesday, January 28, 2009 , 8 - 10 a.m. (networking and continental breakfast begin at 8:00 a.m.)

Navy Memorial & Heritage Center
701 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW; Washington, dC
Metro:  Navy Memorial/Archives (green/yellow lines)


Kate Perrin, president, PRofessionals Solutions, LLC
Other panelists to be announced shortly

Cost: $20 for PRSA members; $35 non-members; $15 students 

Click here to register and learn more. 

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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 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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