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Fenty retains Anita Dunn

Tim Craig

D.C. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty has hired former White House communications director and veteran Democratic media consultant Anita Dunn to help him craft his message for the final push of his re-election campaign.

Sean Madigan, a Fenty spokesman, said Fenty had retained Dunn's firm, Squier Knapp Dunn, within the past two weeks. On Sept. 2, Fenty paid the firm $14,400 for "advertising," according to campaign finance reports.

Sources who review media buys for D.C. Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray's campaign said Fenty will greatly expand his television advertising this weekend.

Although it's unusual for a campaign to make a major personnel hire a few days before an election, Fenty aides downplayed the move, noting Dunn had been providing informal advice to the mayor for several weeks.

This will be Dunn's second attempt this year to help the Fenty administration bolster its image. In March, D.C. Public Schools negotiated a contract with Dunn's firm to provide advice to Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee.

Dunn is a veteran of numerous national and local campaigns, including Barack Obama's 2008 presidential race and the presidential bid by former senator Bill Bradley (D-N.J.) in 2000. She was also a longtime adviser to former Senate majority leader Thomas A. Daschle (D-S.D.) and worked as a media consultant to former Montgomery County executive Douglas M. Duncan.

By Tim Craig  |  September 9, 2010; 8:28 PM ET
Categories:  2010 District Election  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Campaign finance officials investigate Brown's fundraising reports
Next: Dueling videos in mayor's race


Hey Fenty, did President Obama ever return your call about that endorsement? Do tell. LOL

Posted by: schooletal | September 9, 2010 11:00 PM | Report abuse

On Sept. 2, Fenty paid the firm $14,400 for "advertising," according to campaign finance reports.

He could pay a few unemployed DC residents to do the work instead.

Posted by: edlharris | September 9, 2010 11:08 PM | Report abuse

To edlharris: I think he's trying that, too. $100 a pop for a "job with the campaign", as soon as the needy recipient casts a vote for The Boy King. It looks like that plan may be backfiring just a bit, though... (If only the feds could complete an investigation and substantiate the allegations before the 14th...)

Posted by: nan_lynn | September 9, 2010 11:28 PM | Report abuse

Dunn's work with Rhee didn't seem to move her poll numbers any, unless the goal was not to make her anymore polarizing than she already was.

Perhaps Dunn's charge is to keep Fenty from losing by an even wider margin.

Posted by: efavorite | September 10, 2010 8:08 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, like that will help. She's done such a remarkable job with Rhee. NOT!

The problem is that both Fenty and Rhee are narcissistic egomaniacs. They don't know how to take advice from experts because they think they know it all and have all the answers and they believe nobody has anything to offer them.

Fenty has only himself to blame for his falling star...more like exploding star!

My suggestion: suck it up, accept you've lost, get some mental help for your anger issues and narcissistic personality. Also, get a good PR person to help you re-groom yourself. When you've experienced a genuine and authentic change in personality and worked through your issues, then try again in 4 years.

No charge.

Posted by: UrbanDweller | September 10, 2010 8:18 AM | Report abuse

What's being missed is the heavy hand of the White House propping up Fenty in order to sell Obama's "Race to the Top." The law firm for the Democratic Party (DNC) and the White House, Perkins Coie, represents Fenty in his efforts to disrupt ballot counting; the top White House PR operative (Dunn) represents Rhee and now Fenty. (Dunn still works for Obama although not on White House staff.) All that energy and financing from the White House is designed to sell the corporate Democrat agenda to privatize public education: expand charter schools, demand testing of students to fire teachers, weaken unions by firing their veteran members, and then sell the agenda to the cash-strapped states by pumping billions into Race to the Top. No wonder Rep. David Obey fought this corruption as House Budget Director, even though he was retiring from the House.

Posted by: Rambler3 | September 10, 2010 8:51 AM | Report abuse

Fenty needs to convince African Americans to vote for him and he can't find or pay one to craft his message. Fenty was, is and will always be out of touch with African Americans.

Posted by: dcnatives | September 10, 2010 9:32 AM | Report abuse

This proves that a $4.9 million war chest can buy you some time, but not necessarily an election.

Fenty, (along with the Washington Post, DC Examiner, and Washington CityPaper) continues to insult the collective intelligence of the Washington electorate. His pocket veto of the vote-buying legislation telegraphed his intent. Now that the media has reported incidents of vote-buying, he believes Anita Dunn can help him craft a message to get him out of hot water. (Just like he thought the pseudo-contrition tour would help.)

He should go ahead and spend what’s left in the campaign fund; there will be no need for it after the primary.

@UrbanDweller, I agree with your diagnosis, except I believe he has ADHD or ADD with a narcissistic personality disorder. No matter, he will have plenty of time to get treatment after the election.

Posted by: sheridaw | September 10, 2010 10:36 AM | Report abuse

@ dcnative:

You are saying that because Anita Dunn is not "African American," and Fenty hired her, therefore he can't "find or pay" an African-American to bail him out.

It's clear Anita Dunn is probably not black. See Link:

Seems to me Fenty might have a few black advisers on the payroll to help him "craft his message." Like Ron Moten. Such as.

Posted by: Rambler3 | September 10, 2010 11:37 AM | Report abuse

Maybe Fenty is being prepped for his part of a life story and career that is to parallel Gov Bill Clinton's in Arkansas, when he famously lost an early re-election bid, learned humility (or especially how to persuade everyone he shared their pain) ..... came back to win several re-elections....and the rest is history.

A huge difference is that Clinton was famously smart. The appearance of humility can be coached. Maybe Fenty getting voice coaching can help on the appearance-of-smart thing. He'll need at least that if he's to give a speech many will be impressed with.

Posted by: incredulous | September 10, 2010 1:23 PM | Report abuse

@ incredulous:

do you mean a concession speech? That when Fenty loses on Tuesday night he will give a speech that helps him appear to be smart? To go along with appearing-to-be-humble?

Posted by: Rambler3 | September 10, 2010 2:21 PM | Report abuse


Sorry, I stand corrected. I forgot about his, "let me insult my low-income constituents and have Moten try to pimp them with music, beer and fried chicken." I don’t care how much “GO GO” music, beer and Popeye’s chicken Fenty gives away, it ain’t going to get him reelected.

I just watched a video produced by former DC daycare workers and there's a clip included from Ron Moten’s press conference for Big G.

Please watch it and pay close attention to how the Mayor of the Nation’s Capital is standing behind Moten (ex crack dealer) with his head bowed and in a submissive, scared stance. Something is suspect with their relationship!

I don’t know what’s up with those two, but it will make national headlines if it’s every exposed. Here’s the link, you must check it out:

Posted by: dcnatives | September 10, 2010 5:32 PM | Report abuse


should read, "ever exposed"

Posted by: dcnatives | September 10, 2010 5:35 PM | Report abuse

O'Well, Maybe GRAY will win, but I truley hope not. It took a while for FENTY to grow on me but anyone who supports gauranteed jobs, teachers who promote failing students,city services that does neither, deserves to live in PG county. Why is it that the 60's mentality still prevails in the hood. Why havent we learned to be accountable, responsible, and yet there is still a methadone clinic thriving...Shame, we woke yet remain asleep.

Posted by: dcn8tive | September 13, 2010 5:43 PM | Report abuse

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