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Top Democratic Consulting Firm Sold?

In a move that could echo around the Democratic consulting world, international advertising giant WPP is taking steps toward acquiring the Dewey Square Group -- one of the top firms in the business.

WPP is the second-largest advertising services company in the world with more than 72,000 employees in 104 countries. It currently owns public relations giants like Hill and Knowlton and Burson Marsteller; Mark Penn, pollster to the Clintons, is the CEO of the latter.

Dewey Square emerged as one of the titans of the consulting industry during the last presidential election when it had its hands in the campaigns of John Kerry, Sen. Joe Lieberman (Conn.) and former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards. Becoming part of the WPP empire will likely enhance the firm's prestige and put more resources at its disposal.

Formed in 1993 by Boston-based operatives Michael Whouley, Chuck Campion and Charlie Baker, the firm is again positioned to exert considerable influence on the 2008 race.

Whouley is perhaps the most sought-after operative on the Democratic side due to his grassroots organizing abilities -- as demonstrated in Kerry's Iowa caucus victory in 2004. Whouley is expected to be with Kerry should the senator decide to run again, but if the party's 2004 nominee bows out there will be a mad scramble for Whouley's services.

Kiki McLean -- another member of the Dewey inner circle -- is working on behalf of Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack, who is considering a run for president in 2008. Minyon Moore will be with Sen. Clinton should she decide to run for president. Nick Baldick, who until recently was a partner at Dewey before striking out to form his own consulting company, is the top political adviser to Edwards.

By Chris Cillizza  |  May 16, 2006; 10:15 AM ET
Categories:  Democratic Party  
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