Obama’s Communications Team Has Roots on Hill

Posted July 14, 2008 at 2:46pm

Sen. Barack Obama’s (D-Ill.) campaign rolled out a revamped list of communications staff on Monday, including the addition and promotion of several staffers with ties to Capitol Hill.

Democratic strategist Jenny Backus will head up the campaign’s communications operation for the Democratic National Convention in Denver. Backus is a former communications direction at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and an adviser to Sen. John Kerry’s (D-Mass.) 2004 White House bid.

Among the other top changes in Obama’s shop is the promotion of Communications Director Robert Gibbs to a senior strategist for the campaign. Gibbs, a former Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee aide who has worked for Obama since his 2004 Senate race, will handle a broader strategic portfolio that includes communication and message.

Dan Pfeiffer, who had been Gibbs’ deputy, will take over as communications director. Pfeiffer is a former aide to Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.), who once eyed a presidential run.

Democratic consultant Anita Dunn, a veteran of many Congressional and Senate campaigns, will also be a senior adviser, overseeing the research and policy shops.

Linda Douglass, a former TV and print news reporter, will continue to serve as traveling spokeswoman for the campaign while Bill Burton will continue as national spokesman.

Josh Earnest succeeds Pfeiffer as deputy communications director. Earnest, a former Democratic National Committee spokesman, began the cycle as an aide to former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack (D). After Vilsack dropped out of the race, he became Obama’s principal spokesman in Iowa.

The campaign also named people to rapid response team positions, specialty communications jobs and identified regional communications directors.