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Posted at 2:00 PM ET, 12/22/2010

Steven Spielberg advising Nancy Pelosi on rebranding Democrats

By Rachel Weiner

Updated: 12/23/10 9:34 a.m.

Midway through Philip Rucker and Paul Kane's story about Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi's transition to minority leader comes an interesting bit of news. The California Democrat, vilified by Republicans in the last election, has turned to director Steven Spielberg for help rebranding House Democrats.

Lawmakers say she is consulting marketing experts about building a stronger brand. The most prominent of her new whisperers is Steven Spielberg, the Hollywood director whose films have been works of branding genius. Lawmakers said Spielberg has not reported to Pelosi with a recommendation.

It's not the first time Pelosi has turned to political outsiders for advice. In 2004, when pundits were consigning Democrats to permanent minority status, Pelosi reached out to advertising executives, Internet moguls and language specialists to ask how the party could rise from the ashes.

Spielberg has been a power player in Democratic politics for years, working on everything from President Bill Clinton's millennial celebrations to the 2008 Democratic National Convention. He endorsed Hillary Clinton in the last presidential race, but since then he's helped fundraise for President Obama.

But, the news that he is advising the leading Democrat in the House on building a strong party brand would seem to be a different -- and more expansive -- role than Spielberg has played in the past.

A spokesperson for Spielberg put out a statement that many news organizations are taking as a flat-out denial. "Reports Of Nancy Pelosi Seeking Branding Help From Steven Spielberg Appear False" was the headline on Mediate, which went on to lament that "the follow-up correction won't get near as big a splash as the original report."

Outlets from the New York Daily News to the Guardian reported that Spielberg was not advising Pelosi. However, nothing in the statement contradicts the Post's reporting. It's a classic non-denial denial.

"Today's story regarding Nancy Pelosi made a reference to Steven Spielberg that requires a response," wrote Marvin Levy. "I can say as a long-time spokesman for Steven that he has made it his career to direct actors, not political figures." Levy did not actually comment on whether Pelosi had consulted with the director on Democratic rebranding.

Thanks to the Post interactivity team, you can put Pelosi in the Spielberg movie of your choice.

By Rachel Weiner  | December 22, 2010; 2:00 PM ET
Categories:  Democratic Party, House  | Tags:  Nancy Pelosi  
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