Inside the West Wing, Anita Dunn is known as the "Fairy Godmother." In keeping with the literary allusion, Dunn takes special care to make sure that even the junior-most assistant to the deputy assistant feel as if they are an integral part of the Obama administration.
At Dunn's insistence, a weekly communication strategy session was opened to any White House staffer who wanted to attend, a feat of internal transparency that, even in the Obama administration's open-sourced culture, is rare.
Dunn was recruited to be the communications director in April. When the president formally asked her to take the job, Dunn agreed, on the
condition that she leave by the end of the year. Her son, Stephen, is 13 and needs
his parents. The president is reported to have joked that he might not
let her go.
To the public, Dunn is best known through the lens of Fox News, which she criticized for being "a wing of the Republican Party" -- and to conservatives who watch Glenn Beck's program, for her (clearly arch) citation of Chairman Mao as a favorite philosopher in a light-hearted speech to college graduates.
When Dunn took on Fox News, some Democrats wondered whether, because of her temporary status, she had been untethered and allowed to lay a marker that would not ultimately stick to the president. That theory was false. Dunn, along with White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel and other advisers were worried that other news outlets were taking their cues from Fox -- and that had to stop.