Anita Dunn

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Anita Dunn
Anita Dunn.jpg
Acting White House Communications Director
In office
April 21, 2009 – November 30, 2009
PresidentBarack Obama
Preceded byEllen Moran
Succeeded byDaniel Pfeiffer
Personal details
Born (1958-01-08) January 8, 1958 (age 61)
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Bob Bauer
Children1 son
EducationUniversity of Maryland, College Park (BA)

Anita B. Dunn (born January 8, 1958) is an American political strategist who served as Acting White House Communications Director from April through November 2009. She is managing director at SKDKnickerbocker, a strategic communications firm in Washington, D.C.[1]

Life and career[edit]

Dunn was raised in Bethesda, Maryland, the daughter of Albert E. Babbitt and Carol Hutto Babbitt. Her father's brother was the modernist composer, Milton Babbitt. She began her career in the Carter White House,[2] first as an intern for White House Communications Director Gerald Rafshoon and then worked for chief of staff Hamilton Jordan.[3]

She worked on the campaign of Senator John Glenn (D-OH) in 1984,[2] and on Capitol Hill before joining the firm founded by Bob Squier and William Knapp in 1993. She has been the adviser and communications director to Senator Bill Bradley (D-NJ),[4] and served as the chief strategist for his presidential campaign.[3][5] Dunn also served as advisor to Senator Evan Bayh (D-IN), former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD)[6] and as communications director for Al Gore´s presidential campaign in 2000.[7] In 2004, Anita produced the media for Congressman Lloyd Doggett (D-TX).[8] In 2006 she was hired by then-Senator Barack Obama to direct communications and strategy for his political action committee, The Hopefund. This move signaled to many that Obama was planning to run for the presidency. While advising Hopefund and Obama in 2006, she was instrumental in the preparations for the launch of Obama for America, and brought many key staffers to the Obama campaign with whom she had worked in Bayh's and Daschle's offices.[6]

Obama campaign[edit]

In April 2008, it was announced that Dunn, who had joined the Obama campaign in February, would be the director of communications, policy and research operations for Obama for America, where she held the title Senior Adviser[9] and was one of the major decision makers of the Obama campaign. She was featured as one of four top advisers (along with David Axelrod, David Plouffe, and Robert Gibbs) in a 60 Minutes interview held after then-President-elect Obama's November 4, 2008, victory speech at Grant Park, Chicago, Illinois. She was described, in the 60 Minutes interview, as, "a relative newcomer who handled communications, research and policy."[10] During the presidential transition of 2008-09, Dunn trained White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs.[citation needed]

White House Communications Director[edit]

Dunn served as interim White House Communications Director from April to November 2009.[3][11] She took the lead in the Obama administration's criticism of the Fox News Channel.[12][13]

On Sunday, October 11, 2009, she appeared on CNN's Reliable Sources and was asked to discuss a statement she made to Time magazine regarding Fox News, "it's opinion journalism masquerading as news."[14] She responded by saying, "if you were a Fox News viewer in the fall election, what you would have seen would have been that the biggest stories and biggest threats facing America were a guy named Bill Ayers and something called ACORN. The reality of it is that Fox News often operates almost as either the research arm or the communications arm of the Republican Party."[15] She added, "And it's not ideological. Obviously, there are many commentators who have conservative, liberal, centrist, and everybody understands that. But I think what is fair to say about FOX and certainly the way we view it is that it really is more a wing of the Republican Party."[16]

Dunn left her interim post at the end of November 2009 and was replaced by her deputy Dan Pfeiffer.[17]

After leaving the White House, Dunn rejoined SKDK. She maintained strong connections with the administration, and White House records showed that she visited there over 100 times since 2009. The firm added many Obama administration insiders. Criticism was raised about some of the clients represented by the firm. In particular, SKDKnickerbocker corporate clients have included such controversial companies as the for-profit Kaplan University and TransCanada Corp., the developer of the Keystone XL pipeline.[18] The progressive social change organization CredoAction mounted a petition calling on Dunn to stop her work on behalf of TransCanada, calling it a "betrayal of the commitments that so many of us worked so hard for, and that Dunn herself played a huge role in shaping."[19]

2012 Obama campaign[edit]

During the 2012 Obama campaign, Dunn helped Obama prepare for the debates.[20]

Personal life[edit]

Dunn is married to Robert Bauer, former partner at Perkins Coie and former personal counsel to President Obama and the White House Counsel.[21] Bauer was also the general counsel of Obama for America since January 2007.[22][23]

In 2008, Newsweek named Dunn and Bauer the new "power couple" in Washington, D.C.[24]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Anita Dunn". SKD Knickerbocker. Retrieved November 12, 2018.
  2. ^ a b Horowitz, Jason (October 14, 2009). "Profile of Anita Dunn, White House Communications Director". The Washington Post. Retrieved April 25, 2010.
  3. ^ a b c Martin, Jonathan (April 30, 2009). "Anita Dunn heads to the White House". Politico. Retrieved November 12, 2018.
  4. ^ Cook, Dave (October 22, 2009). "Who is Anita Dunn?". The Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved July 17, 2010.
  5. ^ Berke, Richard L. (October 1, 1999). "Gore and Bradley Poised to Engage in Early Debates". The New York Times. Retrieved November 14, 2018.
  6. ^ a b Cillizza, Chris (April 8, 2008). "Obama Prepares for Fight With McCain". voices.washingtonpost. Retrieved November 14, 2018.
  7. ^ Stolberg, Sheryl Gay (November 10, 2009). "Communications Director Leaves". The New York Times. Retrieved November 14, 2018.
  8. ^ Squier Knapp Dunn bio. Archived February 28, 2010, at the Wayback Machine Company Web site. Retrieved March 9, 2010.
  9. ^ "In the Obama press shop". POLITICO. Retrieved November 13, 2018.
  10. ^ "Obama's Inner Circle Shares Inside Story". CBS.
  11. ^ "White House Fellows" (PDF). obamawhitehouse. Retrieved November 15, 2018.
  12. ^ Horowitz, Jason. "Newly Out In Front for White House: An Ol' Pro: Interim Media Strategist Leads Salvo Against Fox", The Washington Post, October 14, 2009; accessed October 16, 2009
  13. ^ Stelter, Brian (October 11, 2009). "Fox's Volley With Obama Intensifying". The New York Times. Retrieved November 15, 2018.
  14. ^ "TIME" – via
  15. ^ "White House Escalates War of Words With Fox News". Fox News. October 12, 2009. Archived from the original on October 17, 2009. Retrieved October 20, 2009.
  16. ^ "CNN Reliable Sources". CNN. October 11, 2009. Archived from the original on October 16, 2009. Retrieved November 1, 2009.
  17. ^ Cillizza, Chris (November 10, 2009). "Dunn leaving White House, Pfeiffer takes over". Washington Post. Retrieved November 10, 2009.
  18. ^ Lichtblau, Eric (October 19, 2012). "Anita Dunn, Both Insider and Outsider in Obama Camp". The New York Times.
  19. ^ "Sign the petition".
  20. ^ Lichtblau, Eric (October 19, 2012). "Anita Dunn, Both Insider and Outsider in Obama camp". The New York Times.
  21. ^ "After Months of Denials, Greg Craig Out As White House Counsel". Archived from the original on November 15, 2009. Retrieved November 13, 2009.
  22. ^ "Anita Dunn". Archived from the original on October 6, 2009. Retrieved October 19, 2009.
  23. ^ "Bob Bauer". Washington Post Company. Archived from the original on November 16, 2009. Retrieved October 19, 2009.
  24. ^ "The D.C. Powers – Under Obama, there will be a new elite in Washington. Some of its members:", Newsweek, December 20, 2008

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Ellen Moran
White House Director of Communications

Succeeded by
Dan Pfeiffer