Episode 48, with guests Jen Psaki, Former Obama Deputy Communications Director and Tony Fratto, Former Bush Deputy Press Secretary

Jen Psaki and Tony Fratto are our guests this week.
Show produced by Katherine Caperton
Original Air Date: March 10, 2012 on SiriusXM Satellite Radio “POTUS” Channel 124
Listen to the show by clicking on the bar above.
Show also available for download on Apple iTunes by clicking here.

This week Josh King and I had an extremely fast paced and jam packed show.  In addition to our featured guests, Jen Psaki and Tony Fratto, we’re also joined by PoliOptics contributors Arun Chaudhary and Michael Shaw.


Tony Fratto founded Hamilton Place Strategies, a consultancy based in Washington, D.C., offering public relations, crisis communications, and public affairs consulting services.

After serving as a senior official in the U.S. Treasury Department during the George W Bush administration, Tony Fratto moved to the White House in September 2006 as Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy Press Secretary.

In this role Fratto worked directly with President George W. Bush and senior cabinet officials as the White House’s lead spokesman and communications adviser on a broad range of economic and legal policy issues. He worked directly with the national press corps, opinion leaders, and foreign news media, regularly briefed reporters from the White House podium and participated in on-camera cable and network interviews.

During our discussion Tony takes us back to the trying days of 2008 during the beginning of the global financial crisis.  Tony played a critical role in handling the polioptics of WH communications at that time.

Fratto was the White House communicator responsible for international and domestic economic policy issues — including international trade; global financial markets; banking; and international development and global health issues. He was also the White House’s lead spokesman on legal issues; Supreme Court cases; U.S. intelligence issues; terrorist financing; and financial crimes.


Arun Chaudhary also kept the conversation with Tony Fratto lively.  As fate would have it, Arun’s first trip the White House, his soon-to-be place of employment, came under Fratto’s watch.  Arun describes the behind the scenes action of the day the 2008 presidential candidates, Sen. Obama and Sen. McCain joined President Bush and congressional leaders for a critical meeting on the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP).


Our next guest on the program was one of the top communicators in the Obama administration, Jen Psaki.  Today, Jen is Senior Vice President-Managing Director based in Global Strategy Group’s Washington, DC office. Psaki joined GSG from the White House where she served as Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy Communications Director responsible for helping run the day-to-day incoming news response, outgoing message and longer term strategic planning for the communications and press offices including events, policy rollouts, new media, constituency and research teams. In addition, she played a central communications role on key economic and domestic policy issues including energy policy, education reform, financial reform, regulatory and tax policy. Psaki was a five year veteran of the Obama communications team. She joined the Obama campaign team in 2007 as travelling press secretary and went on to serve as Deputy Press Secretary in the first year of the Administration.

As you will hear on the show, Jen offers some great insight into the value of imagery at the presidential level and what impact a simple phone call from the president can have in the middle of news cycle.


Reading the Pictures.  In our final segment of the show we’re joined by PoliOptics contributor and Editor of BagNewsNotes.com, Michael Shaw.  I don’t want to give too much away here… you just have to listen to the show to hear the discussion.  But, below are the three pictures that Josh King, Michael Shaw and I examine.

New Yorker illustration: Bob Stake

Gay male kiss David Lewis/Associated Press via Gay Marines/Facebook

Lesbian Kiss: The Virginian-Pilot, Brian J. Clark/AP

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