For the second time in 11 months, the job of White House communications director is turning over. Dan Pfeiffer will replace Anita Dunn at the end of November, and foe Fox News could not refrain from responding with an on-air jab.
As first reported by Chris Cillizza in the Washington Post blog, “The Fix,” Ms. Dunn will leave the administration and return to the prominent Democratic consulting firm of Squier Knapp Dunn. She will continue to advise the president after she leaves the White House.
Dunn reportedly will be replaced by her deputy, Mr. Pfeiffer, who began working for then-candidate Obama in 2007. Pfeiffer served as traveling press secretary for the Obama campaign and later oversaw its communications operation. A veteran political operative, he worked on South Dakota senatorial campaigns for Tim Johnson and Tom Daschle.
An 'interim' White House occupant
Dunn moved into an office on the first floor of the West Wing on what she said was an “interim” basis after the sudden departure in April of Ellen Moran, the Obama administration’s first communications director.
Ms. Moran was a relative newcomer to the Obama team, while Dunn was a key adviser to Mr. Obama during the presidential campaign. Dunn was one of four top advisers – along with press secretary Robert Gibbs, senior adviser David Axelrod, and campaign manager David Plouffe – to be interviewed by “60 Minutes” after Obama’s victory speech on election night.
On Oct. 11, Dunn triggered a major political controversy when she said on CNN’s “Reliable Sources” that Fox News was “a wing of the Republican Party” adding “let’s not pretend they’re a news organization like CNN.”
The Fox News view
In announcing Dunn’s departure, Fox News anchor Jon Scott kept the controversy going. As transcribed by Politico, Scott said, "Anita Dunn is the person at the White House who decided it would be a good idea to try to freeze Fox News out of the White House operation, keep the president from doing interviews with Fox News personnel, keep high-level administration officials from doing interviews with Fox News.”
An administration official told Politico that Dunn’s departure was not related to the controversy regarding Fox. Dunn was open about wanting to leave the White House pressure cooker and spend more time with her son and husband, Bob Bauer. Mr. Bauer is Obama’s personal attorney.