White House Communications Director

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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 Jennifer Palmieri,[1] who succeeded Daniel Pfeiffer in January 2013.


The White House Office of Communications was established by Herbert G. Klein in 1969 during the Nixon administration.[2] It was separate from the Office of the Press Secretary from 1969 to 1974.[3]


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.


As the President's voice and vision must be clear, the Communications Director ensures 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[edit]

  • Assistant to the President for Communications and White House Communications Director: Jennifer Palmieri
    • Special Consultant to the President for Media Affairs: Anita Dunn
    • Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy Director of Communications:
    • Assistant to the President and Director of Speechwriting: Jon Favreau[4]
      • Director of New Media: Macon Phillips[5]
      • Director of Media Affairs: Tom Gavin[6]
      • Director of Broadcast Media: Andrea Purse[5]
      • Director of Specialty Media: Shin Inouye[5]
      • Director of Hispanic Media: Luis Miranda[5]
      • Director of Citizen Participation: Katie Stanton[5]
      • Director of African American Media: Kevin Lewis [5]

Directors since 2001[edit]

Before 2001[edit]


  1. ^ "A Guide to Obama's Staff Reshuffling". National Journal. 
  2. ^ "White House Unit Takes on New Life", The Washington Post, Nov. 26, 1973, p. 9.
  3. ^ "Press Operations in White House Revised, With Politics Ruled Out", The New York Times, August 17, 1974, p. 15.
  4. ^ "President-Elect Barack Obama names two new White House staff members" (Press release). Office of the President-Elect. Retrieved 21 April 2009. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f "President Obama Announces More Key White House Staff" (Press release). Office of the Press Secretary. 23 February 2009. Retrieved 21 April 2009. 
  6. ^ Allen, Mike. "Mike Allen's Playbook", Politico, April 29, 2010, accessed January 28, 2011.
  7. ^ "Former AP executive Koehler, who also served a week in Reagan White House, dies in Conn. at 82". Associated Press (Minneapolis Star Tribune). 2012-09-29. Retrieved 2012-10-08.