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Posts Tagged ‘David Axelrod’

ASGK Acquires Plesser Holland

ASGK Public Strategies

ASGK Public Strategies, founded by former White House advisor David Axelrod and Eric Sedler, has acquired most of Plesser Holland Associates. New York-based boutique Plesser Holland was founded by former Rubenstein exec Andy Plesser in 1992. Plesser’s longtime right hand Kent Holland became a partner in 2005.

Plesser launched a video blog and consultancy called Beet.tv in 2006, while Holland relocated to Washington, DC to focus on the core PR offerings for existing clients in the higher education, financial services and technology sectors.

ASGK  Managing Partner Eric Sedler said, “Kent’s exceptional media relations skills and client base were very attractive to us. We saw lots areas where Kent could enhance our firm’s work.”

The terms of the deal are undisclosed. Holland becomes Managing Director; he will continue to manage the accounts absorbed by ASGK including CNET, the Villanova School of Business, and Butler University.

(Disclosure: The author was employed by Plesser Holland from 2000-2006.)

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WH Press Secretary Robert Gibbs Stepping Down

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs has announced that he’s leaving the position and will become a political adviser to President Obama’s reelection campaign, The New York Times is reporting. His departure is scheduled for early February; his successor will likely be announced in the next couple of weeks.

According to the Times story, a couple of the top contenders for the post are VP Joe Biden’s director of comms (and Karl Rove’s choice) Jay Carney and current Deputy Press Secretary Bill Burton.

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Karl Rove Disses Robert Gibbs

Karl Rove appeared on Fox News (where he’s a contributor) to talk about some of the potential changes at the White House. Specifically, he said that Press Secretary Robert Gibbs is eyeballing David Axelrod‘s job as senior adviser once he steps down. But, Mediaite writes, Rove recommends VP Joe Biden’s director of comms Jay Carney to take the adviser position.

Calling Gibbs a “less than adequate press secretary,”  he said Gibbs doesn’t return phone calls or answer e-mails from the press corps. Oh snap!

(Separately, on today’s First Question – the video series where Gibbs answers questions submitted on Twitter – he’s asked about the impact of Twitter on the presidency and whether it’s a good thing. His response: Yes, because people can get answers directly from governing officials.)

Video of Rove’s comments below.

Obama’s Oval Office Address: Did it Help?

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[Image: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters]

President Obama gave the first Oval Office address of his presidency last night, to speak about the Gulf Coast oil spill and the administration’s plan moving forward.

In the address, Obama said the government will fight the spill, “with everything we’ve got for as long it takes. We will make BP pay for the damage their company has caused. And we will do whatever’s necessary to help the Gulf Coast and its people recover from this tragedy.”

Last night and into this morning, observers from both the left and the right voiced opinions.

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Is Robert Gibbs Headed Towards a Promotion?

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That’s what the Washington Post‘s Jason Horowitz hints at in a lengthy profile of the White House Press Secretary today.

Gibbs is one of the three advisers closest to the president, along with presidential campaign manager David Plouffe, and senior strategist David Axelrod. With Axelrod potentially heading off to run the re-election campaign, the door would be open for Gibbs to step up into a new role.

On potentially leaving the Press Secretary position for that of senior adviser:

Gibbs is too discreet to say which job he prefers, but it’s not hard to figure out. Listen to the press secretary talk about the media as a predictable, hyperventilating rabble obsessed with access and covering “everything as make or break,” or observe his frustration percolating in the briefing room.

On who could succeed him:

While deputy press secretary Bill Burton is being groomed for Gibbs’s job, and other Democratic communications specialists, such as Brad Woodhouse at the Democratic National Committee, are considered potential successors, none has Gibbs’s authority.

Certainly, the role of press secretary is tireless, and often thankless — at least outside the administration. But like a good PR pro, Gibbs wouldn’t entertain any ideas of a job move. “I think if you were to look forward a year, I expect I will be where I am,” he told Horowitz.

The President’s Media Diet

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One of the questions PRNewser sometimes asks in interviews is, “What do you read?” We’re always interested in hearing from executives about what publications compose their media diet.

Thankfully, none have given an answer akin to Sarah Palin‘s “all of them” during the 2008 campaign, when pressed by CBS’ Katie Couric as to which newspapers and magazines she reads.

On that note, The Washington Post today published a story that looks into the influencers in President Obama’s decision making process, including media. Of note: Senior adviser David Axelrod told the Post Obama reads magazines including the New Yorker, the Economist, Sports Illustrated and Rolling Stone. Axelrod added,”There are some commentators whose views he’s interested in, and he’ll read blog items.”

Of course, Press Secretary Robert Gibbs‘ daily briefings on C-SPAN are must see TV, said former communications director Anita Dunn. Read the full story here.

[Image: President Obama holding a copy of Fareed Zakaria's "The Post American World."]

What Do the Democrats Need To Do To “Sell” Healthcare?

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The Obama administration is pulling out all the stops to get a health-care bill passed before the holiday break, but they are facing more and more challenges from both within and outside the Democratic Party.

White House Senior Adviser David Axelrod appeared on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” today to defend the bill. “To defeat a bill that will bend the curve on this inexorable rise in health-care costs is insane,” he said. The appearance comes on the heals of comments yesterday from former DNC Chairman Howard Dean, who urged Democrats to vote against the current bill, calling it an “insurance company bailout.”

A new Washington Post-ABC News poll shows just 37 percent of Americans believe “the quality of care they receive will be better under the new plan as compared to 53 percent who said the care would be superior if the status quo was maintained.” However, 51 percent said “government intervention is ‘necessary to control costs and expand coverage.’” So, what do Democrats need to do now on the PR front to sell the bill?

“Democrats are facing two major challenges: a very complicated bill that’s difficult to reduce to a six second sound bite and reporters who are more interested in covering process than the nuts and bolts of the actual bill,” Stace Paxton, former national press secretary for the Democratic National Committee and Vice President in Hill & Knowlton’s Washington, D.C. office told PRNewser.

As many Americans continue to face unemployment and hard economic realities, Paxton said, “The debate needs a human face and people need to be told how they will personally benefit. Democrats should focus on the top-line, easy to understand benefits of the bill and repeat, repeat, repeat.”

Jesse Derris, Vice President of Crisis Communications at Sunshine, Sachs & Associates, and a former state communications director for Kerry-Edwards 2004, said it’s all about making the message easier to understand. “Obama won because people wanted ‘change they can believe in,’” he said. “Republicans are winning this debate because it’s easier to scare people than to sell them. Democrats must make their message more simple and more top-line. The minutiae is killing them.”

Anita Dunn To Step Down as White House Communications Director

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Breaking: White House communications director Anita Dunn will step down from her post at the end of the month and Dan Pfeiffer, her deputy, will take over, reports the Washington Post‘s Chris Cillizza.

Dunn, who had taken the job on an interim basis earlier this year, will remain with the White House as a consultant. She is most known for recently leading the White House attacks against Fox News. On October 11th, Dunn appeared on CNN’s “Reliable Sources” and stated, “The reality of it is that Fox News often operates almost as either the research arm or the communications arm of the Republican Party.” More to come.

UPDATE: ABC News reports, “There have been discussions at the White House about Dunn’s husband, Bob Bauer, replacing White House counsel Greg Craig. Today’s move presumably makes that switch more likely.”

[image: Dunn speaking with White House senior advisor David Axelrod.]

Fox News, White House Feud Continues; White House Says Officials Will Appear on Fox Programming

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The White House dispatched top officials to the Sunday morning talk shows yesterday. The conversation continued around WH Communications Director Anita Dunn‘s remarks last week in which she said in part, “Fox News often operates almost as either the research arm or the communications arm of the Republican Party…Let’s not pretend they’re a news network the way CNN is.”

Senior Adviser David Axelrod appeared on “This Week with George Stephanopoulos,” while White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel was a guest on CNN’s “State of the Union.” Axelrod said of Fox News, “It’s not really news. It’s pushing a point of view. The bigger thing is that, other news organizations, like yours, ought not treat them that way…We’re going to appear on their shows, we’re going to participate.” TVNewser has video of both appearances.

The question for many is if “we’re going to appear on their shows” means President Obama or only administration officials. Obama’s last appearance on Fox News was a sitdown with Bill O’Reilly on September 4th, 2008.

The New York Times‘ media critic David Carr devoted his column this week to the subject and wrote, “People who work in political communications have pointed out that it is a principle of power dynamics to “punch up” – that is, to take on bigger foes, not smaller ones. A blog on the White House Web site that uses a “truth-o-meter” against a particular cable news network would not seem to qualify.”

White House Switches from On-the-Record to Background-on-Embargo Today

The White House changed the rules on today’s briefing with reporters ahead of Barack Obama’s healthcare speech tonight. This morning, it was on the record, now David Axelrod and Communications Director Anita Dunn want it on background, and the information embargoed until the speech airs tonight.

The likely reason is: because they can. And, because they’re sitting on something they want the American public to hear without giving the press–and detractors on the Hill–six hours to digest and report.

FishbowlDC has the original email from this morning:

Today at 1:30 PM, Senior Advisor David Axelrod and Communications Director Anita Dunn will hold a discussion with reporters on tonight’s health care address. The discussion will be on the record and will last about 40 minutes.

Attendance is limited to one reporter per outlet.

Please let me know whom to expect from your outlet by replying to this email.

What: Discussion with David Axelrod and Anita Dunn

When: Today at 1:30 PM

Where: Roosevelt Room – please gather in upper press by 1:25.

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