Dunn Stays Out of the White House
By Chris Cillizza
Anita Dunn, one of Barack Obama's closest political advisers, is returning to her media consulting practice -- bypassing the chance to serve in the first incoming Democratic White House in more than a decade.
"After the privilege of participating in this historic campaign I look forward to returning to my firm and bringing the fresh approach to strategic communications developed on the Obama campaign to new projects," Dunn told the Fix last night. "It is a unique opportunity to build on that experience."
Dunn's decision comes on the heels of the announcement by the Obama transition team that David Axelrod, a longtime campaign operative, would be leaving his Chicago media firm in order to serve as a senior adviser in the White House.
Dunn's connection to Obama goes back to the president-elect's first race for U.S. Senate in 2004 when she was the lead consultant for one of his Democratic primary opponents -- wealthy businessman Blair Hull. Whoops!
In the spring of 2006, Dunn was brought on to run Obama's Hopefund PAC, the result of her long ties to members of former South Dakota senator Tom Daschle's staff (Pete Rouse, Steve Hildebrand), who had begun to gravitate toward the senator from Illinois.
Dunn was brought on to Obama's presidential campaign in April as Obama began to gear up for the general election. According to those who know the candidate best, his respect for her political acumen and know-how made her one of the people to whom Obama listened most closely throughout the campaign.
She will return to her firm -- Squier Knapp Dunn -- and begin the process of readjusting to the soap-operatic world of political consulting. Dunn's biggest client heading in the 2010 election is Indiana Sen. Evan Bayh (D), whom some Republicans believe can be beaten -- we're skeptical -- with the right candidate. (Gov. Mitch Daniels, anyone?)
Web Politics Editor
November 20, 2008; 11:53 AM ET
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