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Shop Talk: Jen Psaki Moves to Obama Campaign

Jen Psaki is taking a four-month leave of absence from Global Strategy Group to serve as traveling press secretary on President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign.

Psaki, who served the same role in the 2008 campaign and then went to work in the White House, told Roll Call she will travel with the president on Air Force One when he hits the campaign trail, serving both as an on-air presence and the primary spokeswoman for traveling press. Psaki will return to GSG after the election in November.

“Given the stakes in this election, it would have been hard to pass up an opportunity to be a part of the team that will send the president back to the White House for four more years,” Psaki said.

After working for Obama for five years, Psaki joined GSG, a Democratic consulting firm, in October as senior vice president and managing director, leading the firm’s growing Washington, D.C., office. She had served as the White House deputy press secretary since Obama’s first year in office and was considered for the open press secretary job in January 2011.

Jim Papa, a senior vice president who joined GSG this month, will lead the D.C. office while Psaki is on leave. Papa also joined GSG from the White House, where he served as special assistant to the president for legislative affairs. Psaki said Papa “knows every part of Washington like the back of his hand, and there is no one better to continue building the team over the next four months at Global Strategy Group.”

Psaki’s long résumé includes serving as deputy press secretary for Sen. John Kerry’s (D-Mass.) 2004 presidential campaign and as a regional press secretary at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee under then-Chairman Rahm Emanuel (Ill.). The College of William and Mary graduate previously worked as communications director for Rep. Joe Crowley (D-N.Y.) and on the Iowa re-election campaigns of former Gov. Tom Vilsack and Sen. Tom Harkin.

I’ll Have Another Bierfeldt

The Iowa Republican Party last week named Steve Bierfeldt as executive director. Bierfeldt is a former top staffer on Rep. Ron Paul’s (R-Texas) presidential campaign. He was Paul’s Iowa executive director, mainly organizing for the Ames straw poll last year, and he was later named Paul’s Nevada executive director ahead of the state’s caucuses in February.

Bierfeldt served in the 2010 cycle as regional director on Sen. Rand Paul’s (R-Ky.) first campaign for elected office. Previously, he served for two years as vice president of development for the Campaign for Liberty and as national field director for the Leadership Institute, a Virginia-based nonprofit dedicated to identifying, recruiting, training and placing conservatives in government, politics and the media.

“I am very excited to have Steve on board. He brings with him a wealth of experience that will help us strengthen our Party, take back the Iowa Senate, increase our majority in the Iowa House and defeat President Obama in November,” said A.J. Spiker, who was elected state party chairman in February.

Brice for Bartlett

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