Dana Perino

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Dana Perino
27th White House Press Secretary
In office
September 14, 2007 – January 20, 2009
President George W. Bush
Preceded by Tony Snow
Succeeded by Robert Gibbs
Personal details
Born Dana Marie Perino
(1972-05-09) May 9, 1972 (age 43)
Evanston, Wyoming, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Peter McMahon
Alma mater Colorado State University, Pueblo
University of Illinois, Springfield

Dana Marie Perino[1] (born May 9, 1972) is an American political pundit. She was the 27th White House Press Secretary, serving under President George W. Bush from September 14, 2007 to January 20, 2009. She was the second female White House Press Secretary, after Dee Dee Myers who served during the Clinton Administration.[2] She is currently a political commentator for Fox News, while also serving as a co-host of the network's talk show The Five, and is a book publishing executive at Random House.

Early life and career[edit]

Perino was born in Evanston, Wyoming, the daughter of Janice "Jan" and Leo Perino,[3] and grew up in Denver, Colorado.[4] Two of her paternal great-grandparents were Italian immigrants.[5][6][7] She attended Ponderosa High School in Parker, Colorado, a suburb of Denver.[4] Perino graduated from Colorado State University-Pueblo (CSU-Pueblo) in 1993 with a bachelor's degree in mass communications and minors in both political science and Spanish.[2] While attending CSU-Pueblo, she was on the forensics team. She also worked at KTSC-TV, the campus-based Rocky Mountain PBS affiliate.[8] While at college, she also worked at KCCY-FM on the 2 a.m. to 6 a.m. shift.[9] Perino went on to obtain a masters degree in public affairs reporting from the University of Illinois Springfield (UIS).[10] During her time at UIS, she also worked for WCIA, a CBS affiliate, as a daily reporter covering the Illinois Capitol.[11]

Perino next worked in Washington, D.C., for Rep. Scott McInnis (R-CO) as a staff assistant before serving nearly four years as the press secretary for Rep. Dan Schaefer (R-CO), who then chaired the House Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and Power.[8][12]

After Schaefer announced his retirement in 1998, Perino and husband Peter McMahon moved to Britain.[4] After a year there, Perino and McMahon moved back to the United States and resided in San Diego, California, for three years.[citation needed]

In November 2001, Perino returned to Washington, D.C., and secured a position as a spokesperson for the Department of Justice,[13] at which she served for two years.[14]

Perino then joined the White House staff as the associate director of communications for the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), where she provided strategic advice on message development, media relations and public outreach.[15][16] The House Oversight Committee, chaired by Rep. Edolphus Towns (D-NY), claimed in its findings on climate change censorship, that the CEQ exerted undue control of media relations in governmental scientific agencies during her tenure.[17] Science writer Mark Bowen claimed that Perino directed other public affairs officers to kill press releases about the danger of hydrogen fuel cells after President George W. Bush announced his support for them.[18]

Press Secretary[edit]

Dana Perino, George W. Bush and Tony Snow

Perino served as Deputy Press Secretary from 2005 to 2007. She was hired by Scott McClellan. In the role, Perino communicated many times a day with President Bush's director of communications, his press secretary and his director of media affairs, as well as serving as the spokesperson for the White House on environmental issues. In addition, she served as the coordinator for all agencies on environment, energy and natural resource issues, as well as reviewing and approving the agencies' major announcements,

From March 27 to April 30, 2007 she was the Acting White House Press Secretary while Tony Snow underwent treatment for colon cancer.

On August 31, 2007, Bush announced that Snow would be resigning his post for health reasons and that Perino would become his replacement. Perino was accordingly promoted to the rank of Assistant to the President, and served as White House Press Secretary from September 14, 2007 until the end of the Bush Administration in January 2009.

In 2007, during an appearance as the week's celebrity guest on the radio quiz show Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me!,[19] Perino shared that she had once panicked during a White house press briefing when a reporter referred to the Cuban Missile Crisis because she did not know what it was. "I was panicked a bit because I really don’t know about . . . the Cuban Missile Crisis. It had to do with Cuba and missiles, I'm pretty sure. I came home and I asked my husband. I said, 'Wasn't that like the Bay of Pigs thing?’ And he said, 'Oh, Dana.'"[20][21]

On December 14, 2008, a TV journalist, Muntadar al-Zeidi, threw two shoes at Bush during a Baghdad press conference. Bush successfully dodged both, but Perino's eye was injured by a microphone stand during the commotion surrounding al-Zeidi's arrest.[22][23][24][25]

Post-Bush administration career[edit]

Since leaving the White House, Perino became a political commentator on Fox News. She is a regular co-host on the talk show, The Five. In November 2009, she was nominated by President Barack Obama to serve on the Broadcasting Board of Governors, an agency overseeing government-sponsored international broadcasting,[26] and was confirmed by the Senate on June 30, 2010.[27] In 2010, she started teaching a class in political communications part-time at George Washington University's Graduate School of Political Management.[28] In March 2011 the Crown Publishing Group, a division of Random House, Inc., announced that Perino had joined its books imprint Crown Forum as Editorial Director but she has since left this position.[29]

Views on atheism[edit]

Perino suggested atheists leave America, stating "they don't have to live here".[30]

Personal life[edit]

Perino met her future husband, Peter McMahon, in 1996. McMahon, born in Blackpool, Lancashire, England, is a businessman involved in the international marketing and sales of medical products. They were married in 1998. It is Perino's first marriage and McMahon's third. While Perino and McMahon have no children, McMahon has children from his previous marriage as well as two grandchildren.[citation needed]

In May 2012 Perino appeared on Jeopardy! during its "Power Players" week, facing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and CNBC's David Faber.[31]


  1. ^ The Five, March 10, 2014 https://archive.org/details/FOXNEWSW_20140310_210000_The_Five#start/3540/end/3600
  2. ^ a b Keller, Susan Jo (November 26, 2007). "Dana Perino". The New York Times. Retrieved March 24, 2010. 
  3. ^ "Dana Perino: Press Job Like Herding Cattle". Archive.newsmax.com. Retrieved 2012-06-15. 
  4. ^ a b c Barge, Chris (March 31, 2007). "Coloradan steps right into the media spotlight". Rocky Mountain News. Retrieved March 24, 2010. [dead link]
  5. ^ Ruffino, Elissa (2008). "White house press secretary dana perino to address public policy lecture series". National Italian American Foundation. Retrieved March 25, 2010. 
  6. ^ "Dana Perino – Voce Italiana Online – Washington DC". Voceitaliana.com. 2004-01-01. Retrieved 2012-06-15. 
  7. ^ Dana Perino Interview: "Minute Mentoring Interview with Janice Perino (a.k.a. My Mom)" March 28, 2013
  8. ^ a b Zaletel, Cora (January 18, 2009). "White House Press Secretary to present Spring commencement address at CSU-Pueblo". Colorado State University-Pueblo. Retrieved March 24, 2010. [dead link]
  9. ^ "Perino’s Faux Pas: Brian’s Boner Recalled". wordpress.com. Retrieved 25 August 2012. 
  10. ^ "Dana Perino – U of I grad makes good". University of Illinois Alumni Association. Fall 2007. Retrieved March 24, 2010. 
  11. ^ "Dana Perino – UIS grad makes good". University of Illinois Alumni Association. Fall 2007. Retrieved March 24, 2010. 
  12. ^ Baxter, Sarah (December 14, 2007). "Bush's cool blonde is a northern gran". London: The Times. Archived from the original on Sep 18, 2008. Retrieved 2007-12-14. 
  13. ^ Roberts, Michael (19 Sep 2007). "New Forecast". Denver Westwood News. 
  14. ^ Brass, Kevin (21 Sep 2007). "Media Watch: The Improbable Rise of Dana Perino". Retrieved 17 Dec 2008. 
  15. ^ Marshall, Christa (31 Aug 2007). "Coloradan takes over for Tony Snow". PoliticsWest, The Denver Post. 
  16. ^ "Dana Perino – Assistant to the President and Press Secretary". U.S. Government. Retrieved 17 Dec 2008. 
  17. ^ "Political Interference With Climate Change Science Under the Bush Administration" (PDF). United States House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. December 2007. Retrieved June 26, 2010. 
  18. ^ Bowen, Mark (December 27, 2007). "Chapter 5: Gretchen, Do Not Email Me on This". Censoring Science: Inside the Political Attack on Dr. James Hansen and the Truth of Global Warming. Dutton Adult. pp. 116–117. ISBN 0-525-95014-1. Retrieved June 26, 2010. Steitz remembers that he, Mahone, and Wood got direction from Perino on killing the press release about the potential danger of hydrogen fuel cells. 
  19. ^ "White House Press Secretary Dana Perino plays a game called "You're Cast Away on the Island of Misfit Toys."". 
  20. ^ Baker, Peter (December 10, 2007). "Perino's 'Missile Crisis' Confession". Washington Post. Retrieved 2007-12-14. 
  21. ^ Nizza, Mike (December 10, 2007). "Nobody’s Perfect: Press Secretary Edition". New York Times. Retrieved 2007-12-14. 
  22. ^ "Sole Survivor". Checkpoint Baghdad. 2008-12-14. Retrieved 2008-12-14. 
  23. ^ "Bush ducks flying shoes during Iraq visit". CTV Television Network. 2008-12-14. Retrieved 2008-12-14. 
  24. ^ "Iraqi Journalist Hurls Shoes at Bush". The New York Times. 2008-12-15. Retrieved 2008-12-15. [dead link]
  25. ^ "Dana M. Perino". The Washington Post. Retrieved September 14, 2010. 
  26. ^ "Obama taps former Bush aide to key government post", AFP, Nov. 19, 2009. Footnote augmented 2010-03-14.
  27. ^ Kane, Paul (June 30, 2010). "Former Bush, Reid aides approved for broadcasting board". The Washington Post. Retrieved July 13, 2010. 
  28. ^ "Former White House Press Secretary Dana Perino to Teach at GW's Graduate School of Political Management". George Washington University. July 14, 2010. Retrieved July 14, 2010. 
  29. ^ "Dana Perino Appointed Editorial Director of Crown Forum". 
  30. ^ "Dana Perino Is 'Tired Of Atheists'; Fox News Host Says 'They Don't Have To Live Here'". Huffington Post. Retrieved 19 August 2015. 
  31. ^ "Dana Perino's 'Jeopardy!' performance". Video.foxnews.com. 2012-05-16. Retrieved 2012-06-15. 

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Tony Snow
White House Press Secretary
Succeeded by
Robert Gibbs