White House communications director Dunn leaving post

Anita Dunn was working on an interim basis, but people like Glenn Beck might claim victory anyway


Alex Koppelman
November 10, 2009 10:30PM (UTC)

President Obama's about to lose his second White House communications director since taking office. Anita Dunn, who took the job on an interim basis after Ellen Moran left to become chief of staff at the Commerce Department in April, will be resigning at the end of this month, the Washington Post's Chris Cillizza reports. According to Cillizza, Dunn's deputy, Dan Pfeiffer, will be the next person to hold the job.

Dunn, an old hand in Democratic politics, became a lightning rod for controversy recently, after she took the lead in the White House's campaign against Fox News. Her role in doing so led to Glenn Beck airing a video from a high school graduation Dunn spoke at this year in which she jokingly referred to "two of my favorite political political philosophers: Mao Tse Tung and Mother Theresa."

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It wouldn't be much of a surprise if Beck tries to claim credit for Dunn's exit. Last month, he pre-emptively hinted at that, suggesting that the White House was putting out a message that Dunn had planned to leave anyway so that it wouldn't look like he'd forced her out.

The fact of the matter, however, is that this was a planned exit. Actually, Dunn didn't even want the job in the first place, and had initially turned it down; the only way she would agree to come on is if she was working on an interim basis and leaving by the end of this year. She will reportedly continue consulting work for the White House, however.

Though Dunn's leaving, there may still be a presence from her family in the administration. Dunn's husband, Bob Bauer, was the Obama campaign's lead attorney, and he's reportedly in line to become the new White House counsel if, as expected, Greg Craig is pushed out.

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Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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