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Hillary's New Press Man

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) is bringing in Jay Carson -- the top flack from her husband's personal office -- to serve as her traveling press secretary.

Carson replaces Jen Hanley in the post. Hanley will remain with the campaign but cited her desire to spend more time with her young children for changing jobs. "While I'm leaving the road, I will continue working to help her win and be the President our country needs so badly," Hanley said.

Sen. Clinton issued a statement saying that "Jennifer has done a wonderful job working for me in my Senate office and now the campaign for a combined five years. I'm so grateful she was with me for the start of this campaign and while I will miss having her with me day by day, I consider her a part of my extended family and understand completely why she can not be on the road away from her young children."

Carson spent the last several years as communications director for former President Bill Clinton. Prior to that, Carson was the national spokesman for former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean's 2004 presidential bid and also spent time as press secretary for former Sen. Tom Daschle (D-S.D.).

"It has been an honor to serve President Clinton and his remarkable work around the world with the Clinton Foundation for the last two years, and now I'm looking forward to joining Senator Clinton and her campaign team," said Carson. "She's one of the toughest fighters I've ever met, and there is no one I am more confident can take on and beat the Republicans in November."

Carson's familiarity with the Clintons should serve him well in his new job. A relationship with the candidate as well as with the traveling press corps -- both regional and national -- is essential to being an effective traveling press person. The traveling press person has to know the candidate's likes and dislikes, know when he (or she) is at their best and worst and know how to keep the press happy.

A look at the traveling press secretaries for the frontrunners shows a tendency toward staffers with long ties to the candidate. Here's a rundown:

*Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.): Robert Gibbs, who was the Obama's communications director in the Senate, handles the travel duties for the campaign. Before signing on with Obama, Gibbs had previously served in the press shop of Sen. John Kerry's (D-Mass.) presidential primary bid and also did a stint in the press shop at the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

* Former Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.): Mark Kornblau handles the traveling press gig for Edwards after serving as a spokesman for the North Carolina Senator during the latter's 2004 vice presidential race. Prior to that, Kornbalu served as New Hampshire communications director for Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) presidential primary race.

*Former Gov. Mitt Romney (R-Mass.): Eric Fehrnstrom was Romney's gubernatorial spokesman and deputy campaign manager for Romney's 2002 governor's race before jumping aboard the former governor's presidential bid as the traveling press secretary.

*Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R-N.Y.): Giuliani communications director Katie Levinson and deputy communications director Maria Comella share the travel load.

*Former Sen. Fred Thompson (R-Tenn.): Thompson's press shop is in a bit of turmoil and no one -- to the best of our knowledge -- has been chosen to travel with the former Tennessee senator. Longtime GOP operative Rich Galen, who is a senior adviser to the campaign, was with Thompson last week during a trip to Iowa.

By Chris Cillizza  |  August 21, 2007; 10:06 AM ET
Categories:  Eye on 2008  
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