американский политический стратег, исполнявшая обязанности директора по коммуникациям администрации Белого дома с апреля по ноябрь 2009 года. Она является управляющим директором SKDKnickerbocker , фирмы по стратегическим коммуникациям в Вашингтоне, округ Колумбия , и в настоящее время работает в должности старший советник переходной группы избранного президента Джо Байдена.
Dunn was raised in Bethesda, Maryland, the daughter of Albert E. Babbitt and Carol Hutto Babbitt. Her father's brother was the modernist composer, Milton Babbitt. Dunn is married to Robert Bauer, former partner at Perkins Coie and former personal counsel to President Obama and the White House Counsel. Bauer was also the general counsel of Obama for America since January 2007.
Dunn began her career in the Carter White House, first as an intern for White House Communications Director Gerald Rafshoon and then worked for chief of staff Hamilton Jordan.
She worked on the campaign of U.S. Senator John Glenn (D-OH) in 1984, and on Capitol Hill before joining the firm founded by Bob Squier and William Knapp in 1993. She has been the adviser and communications director to Senator Bill Bradley (D-NJ), and served as the chief strategist for his presidential campaign. Dunn also served as advisor to Senator Evan Bayh (D-IN), former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD) and as communications director for Al Gore's presidential campaign in 2000. In 2004, Anita produced the media for Congressman Lloyd Doggett (D-TX). In 2006 she was hired by then-Senator Barack Obama to direct communications and strategy for his political action committee, The Hopefund. This move signaled to many that Obama was planning to run for the presidency. While advising Hopefund and Obama in 2006, she was instrumental in the preparations for the launch of Obama for America, and brought many key staffers to the Obama campaign with whom she had worked in Bayh's and Daschle's offices.
In April 2008, it was announced that Dunn, who had joined the Obama campaign in February, would be the director of communications, policy and research operations for Obama for America, where she held the title Senior Adviser and was one of the major decision makers of the Obama campaign. She was featured as one of four top advisers (along with David Axelrod, David Plouffe, and Robert Gibbs) in a 60 Minutes interview held after then-President-elect Obama's November 4, 2008, victory speech at Grant Park, Chicago, Illinois. She was described, in the 60 Minutes interview, as, "a relative newcomer who handled communications, research and policy." During the presidential transition of 2008–09, Dunn trained White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs.
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Dunn served as interim White House Communications Director from April to November 2009. She took the lead in the Obama administration's criticism of the Fox News Channel.
On Sunday, October 11, 2009, she appeared on CNN's Reliable Sources and was asked to discuss a statement she made to Time magazine regarding Fox News, "it's opinion journalism masquerading as news." She responded by saying, "if you were a Fox News viewer in the fall election, what you would have seen would have been that the biggest stories and biggest threats facing America were a guy named Bill Ayers and something called ACORN. The reality of it is that Fox News often operates almost as either the research arm or the communications arm of the Republican Party." She added, "And it's not ideological. Obviously, there are many commentators who have conservative, liberal, centrist, and everybody understands that. But I think what is fair to say about FOX and certainly the way we view it is that it really is more a wing of the Republican Party." Dunn left her interim post at the end of November 2009 and was replaced by her deputy Dan Pfeiffer.
After leaving the White House, Dunn rejoined SKDK. Although working for a lobbying firm, White House records show that Dunn maintained strong connections with the administration where visited over 100 times since her departure in 2009. At the same time the firm announced a “major expansion” emphasizing strategic communications and advocacy work for business. The firm added about a dozen Obama administration insiders as the firm's staff doubled in size. Among the major clients the firm took on were General Electric, AT&T, Time Warner, and Pratt & Whitney. In particular, SKDKnickerbocker corporate clients have included such controversial companies as the for-profit Kaplan University and TransCanada Corp., the developer of the Keystone XL pipeline. At the same time that Kaplan Education hired SKDK to block Obama's crackdown on predatory for-profit colleges, Dunn was known as “a close friend of President Obama.” The progressive social change organization CredoAction mounted a petition calling on Dunn to stop her work on behalf of TransCanada, calling it a "betrayal of the commitments that so many of us worked so hard for, and that Dunn herself played a huge role in shaping." Another client, The Association of American Railroads (AAR), is also associated with oil pipeline infrastructure necessary to make ventures like the Keystone XL successful. SKD Knickerbocker helped AAR produce advertisements aimed at suppressing support for union workers.
Other SKD Knickerbocker clients include a half-million subcontract from Paul Weiss Rifkind to lobby for Carlos Ghosn, the ousted Nissan CEO who was arrested in Japan and escaped in January 2020, New York City landlords and real estate associations resisting stronger rent protections for tenants, big food companies such as General Mills, Pepsi Co, Nestle, Kellogg, Viacom, and McDonalds in their fight to resist Obama-era nutritional standards for marketing foods to children, and Google and Pfizer in their campaign to cut taxes on foreign profits. Some of Dunn's own clients at SKD Knickerbocker include pro-charter lobbying groups Students First and Families for Excellent schools. Knickerbocker produced ads urging citizens and legislators to support charter schools after Mayor Bill De Blasio blocked three charter schools from opening in buildings shared by existing public schools. Dunn also represented Amazon who sought PR help from SKD Knickerbocker as it developed plans to establish a second headquarters in New York City.
Anita Dunn also personally partnered with Republican political advisor Greg Mueller to pitch PR strategies to hedge fund managers. This PR strategy aimed to give financiers a “home field advantage” by harnessing trusted local media sources and running a grassroots public affairs campaign aimed at increasing local confidence in the financial industry.
As Dunn left her position as White House communications director, her husband Bob Bauer was named White House counsel. The White House granted Bauer a waiver to ethics rules intended to prohibit administration officials from working on issues affecting their former clients for two years. This exemption allowed Bauer to represent the White House, Obama's campaign, and Obama as an individual all at the same time.
During the 2012 Obama campaign, Dunn helped Obama prepare for the debates. When Journalist Lee Fang asked Dunn if she felt it was “disingenuous” to advise Barack Obama's 2012 re-election campaign “while simultaneously being paid by a lot of corporations to lobby against his reforms” Dunn said in her response, “I work with some corporations because the fact of the matter is we’re in a democracy and there’s a dialogue and people have a right to be heard. And the fact of the matter is that most of the time when I work with people, they have a story to be told and we tell it.” Dunn's logic echoes the theory of corporate personhood used to support judicial decisions like Citizens United in 2010.
Ahead of reporting in The New York Times about Harvey Weinstein's alleged sexual abuse, Weinstein reached out to Dunn for public relations advice. Dunn told Weinstein "you should accept your fate graciously, and not seek to deny or discredit those who your behaviour has affected." Dunn's firm stated that she was not paid for this, "was asked to speak with him by a friend" and that Weinstein was not a client of hers.
Dunn was hired as a senior advisor to Joe Biden's 2020 presidential campaign in 2019 to assist with communications strategy. After Biden's disappointing fourth-place finish in the 2020 Iowa Democratic caucuses, Dunn was elevated to a more senior position managing overall campaign strategy, personnel, and finances. Dunn's prior association with Weinstein has reportedly created serious friction with former Bernie Sanders progressive staffers as the two teams look to defeat Donald Trump in the general election.
On September 5, 2020, Dunn was announced to be a co-chair of the Biden-Harris Transition Team, which is planning the presidential transition of Joe Biden.
On June 5, 2009, in a graduation speech at the Washington National Cathedral for St. Andrews Episcopal High School, Dunn said "The third lesson and tip actually comes from two of my favorite political philosophers: Mao Tse-tung and Mother Theresa". Her reference to Mao Tse-Tung as one of her favorite political philosophers has drawn criticisms. In response, Dunn explained she picked up the Mao quote from a legendary Republican. "The Mao quote is one I picked up from the late Republican strategist Lee Atwater from something I read in the late 1980s, so I hope I don't get my progressive friends mad at me," Dunn told CNN. As for Beck's criticism: "The use of the phrase 'favorite political philosophers' was intended as irony, but clearly the effort fell flat -- at least with a certain Fox commentator whose sense of irony may be missing."