Anita Dunn Out, Dan Pfeiffer In--What Does It Portend?

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Anita Dunn, President Obama's embattled White House Communications Director, is leaving her job at the White House. Dunn had accepted the post on an interim basis and will return to her consulting job where she is a partner. She's famous for drawing the ire of right wing pundits for dismissing Fox News as an "arm" of the Republican Party and calling Communist leader Mao Zedong one of her "favorite political philosophers." While multiple reports confirm that Dunn's departure was planned (i.e. not a surrender to Glenn Beck) many on the left and right say the shakeup has significance. Here are their takes on what Dunn's exit will portend:

  • A De-escalation of the Fox News War, writes conservative blogger Sister Toldjah: "They’re no longer interested in being overtly anti-Fox, as Dunn was and is.  Now they’re interested in keeping it 'behind the scenes' – hush-hush, if you will, via threatening Democrat analysts/commentators/consultants who appear on the network via warning them to stay off of it – or else."
  • A More On-Message White House, writes liberal blogger Nathan Empsall at Direct Democracy: "I think this is a good thing. I despise Fox News...but there came a point when Dunn and her team just went too far. Fox needs to be slapped, but you don't want that fight to overshadow the rest of your message as was always clear would happen... Perhaps a new communications shop will help achieve that goal."
  • A Return of the Boys Club, writes Walter Shapiro at Politics Daily: "Dunn's departure will once again leave longtime Obama friend Valerie Jarrett as the only woman not named Michelle in the inner circle of the White House. The Obama team has long been concerned about the symbolism of a no-girls-allowed club surrounding the president. But aside from temporarily luring Anita Dunn into the White House, Obama has come no closer to solving this problem than he did during the campaign."
  • Beck Will Claim Victory, writes Alex Koppelman at Salon: "It wouldn't be much of a surprise if Beck tries to claim credit for Dunn's exit. Last month, he pre-emptively hinted at that, suggesting that the White House was putting out a message that Dunn had planned to leave anyway so that it wouldn't look like he'd forced her out."

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.