Dan Pfeiffer: Senior Political Advisor to the President
A low-profile aide to President Obama will soon be managing the public face of his Administration. Dan Pfeiffer was named the next White House communications director on Nov. 10, following the announcement that current communications chief Anita Dunn will step down by the end of the year. At 33, Pfeiffer has already worked for half-a-dozen prominent Democrats. He will be Obama’s third communications director, following Ellen Moran (now a Commerce Department official) and Dunn. Though not a familiar name or face, Pfeiffer has been an important presence in Obama’s inner circle since the early days of his presidential campaign.
“Shut up! He said what?”
— On hearing John McCain observe that “the fundamentals of the economy are strong” on Sept. 15, 2008 — the day Lehman Brothers collapsed. (New York Times, Nov. 16, 2008)
“We did not do ‘cocktail-party interviews.’ These are interviews that you agree to because you were always bumping into the reporter at cocktail parties, and they keep asking for the candidate’s time. We could laugh every time our opponents would do them.”
— Citing an advantage of headquartering the Obama campaign in Chicago rather than Washington. (New York Times, Dec. 17, 2008)
Cecilia Muñoz’s to-do list is so lengthy, it fills a binder. Whether it’s on the priority of the day–strategizing on how to pass sweeping gun control legislation–or preparing comprehensive immigration reforms that will change the way this country lives together and works together, Muñoz is working through that notebook (emblazoned “Cecilia’s Daily Binder”) 24 hours a day. She’s in before the sun comes up and if she leaves the White House in the evening, she’s never without her Blackberry.
President Obama talks with members of the 2012 U.S. Olympic gymnastics teams in the Oval Office, Nov. 15. Pictured, from left, are: Steven Gluckstein, Savannah Vinsant, Aly Raisman, Gabby Douglas, Steve Penny, USA Gymnastics President, McKayla Maroney, Kyla Ross, and Jordyn Wieber (Pete Souza)
Washington Post: President Obama is considering asking Sen. John F. Kerry to serve as his next defense secretary, part of an extensive rearrangement of his national security team that will include a permanent replacement for former CIA director David H. Petraeus.
Although Kerry is thought to covet the job of secretary of state, senior administration officials familiar with the transition planning said that nomination will almost certainly go to Susan E. Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.
John O. Brennan, Obama’s chief counterterrorism adviser, is a leading contender for the CIA job if he wants it, officials said. If Brennan goes ahead with his plan to leave government, Michael J. Morell, the agency’s acting director, is the prohibitive favorite to take over permanently. Officials cautioned that the White House discussions are still in the early stages and that no decisions have been made….