For more than three decades, Bob Bauer and Anita Dunn have climbed to the top of Washington power.
Bauer, a personal lawyer for President political Joe Biden who served as White House counsel. Under President Barack Obama, is the godfather of Democratic campaign lawyers. Dunn, a White House adviser to Biden who was communications director. Under Obama, is the grand political dame of public relations in town.
Since early November, they have been at the center of Biden’s strategy to manage. The discovery of classified documents among his papers from past jobs. The strategy kept the story hidden from the public for more than two months. With Bauer and Dunn demonstrating tensions between. Biden’s most trusted advisers: law and public relations, . And it’s a rare moment that shines a light political on a power duo. That usually operate behind the scenes with little fanfare and even less criticism.
“If it’s a room of five, Anita and Bob are two of them,” said a former White House aide. Who asked not to be named because the person is not authorized to speak.
On the record about White House business.
To get a better sense of Dunn and Bauer’s role in Biden’s orbit, todaystrend News spoke with more. Than a dozen former White House and presidential campaign aides. As well as strategists and former colleagues. Most of these people asked to remain anonymous – some out of loyalty to the couple. Some out of fear of reprisals and some because they were not allowed to speak by their employers. The White House declined to comment for this story.
The document case has created several fine points of friction. Between the president’s institutional interests. His personal legal interests, and the public’s interest in transparency. As his personal lawyer and his de facto chief public communications adviser. Bauer and Dunn are at the nexus of those tension points.
Bauer is part of a legal nucleus, along with Richard Saber. And Stuart Delary in the White House counsel’s office. That has guided the Biden team’s communications with the Justice Department. And the National Archives and Records Administration. According to a person familiar with their work. The group of White House aides who were looped in as soon as the discovery. Was somewhat larger and included Don, the person said.
In a statement earlier this month, Bauer said Biden had directed his lawyers to be “close and. Cooperative” with the Justice Department and the National Archives and Records Administration.
He also explained the limits of public disclosure.
Biden’s personal lawyers have “attempted to balance the importance political of public. Transparency with the established rules. And limitations necessary to protect the integrity of the investigation,” Bauer wrote. “This consideration necessitates the avoidance of disclosure of relevant. Details during the course of the investigation.”
Prioritizing legal interests over public relations has come at a short-term political cost. And could turn into a long-term liability, several Democrats said.
“The strategy they had in place didn’t serve him well. — A lack of transparency from November to January.” Said a second former White House official. “Even if there was a good reason for it, it didn’t meet the press and it created an image problem.”
The ultimate power couple
It is not unusual for married couples to work for the same politician. In the small circles of Washington politics, that’s how many people meet their wives. But in the history of presidential politics. Few unelected couples have become as influential as Bauer. And Dunn—furniture in the modern Democratic Oval Office.While often working for the same bosses in Democratic politics. While rising in their respective fields, they built a vast network of allies. Raised millions of dollars, held prestigious roles. And influenced the political fortunes and decision-making of many. The most prominent figure of the Democratic Party.
Dunn and Bauer built parallel careers that alternated with each political other. He was the general counsel and he was the communications director of the Democratic. Senatorial Campaign Committee almost 35 years ago. Married in 1993, they worked together on Bill Bradley’s presidential campaign. With Bauer playing Al Gore in mock debates. Tom Daschle, the former Senate Democratic leader whose operation provided. Much of the talent for Obama’s team, counted Bauer and Dunn among his advisers. And, of course, they played an important role in Obama. And Biden’s campaigns and presidential runs.
According to allies, there is a simple reason for their success.
They can be trusted to handle difficult tasks and with discretion.
“People know they can count on them in the trenches.” Said Minnion Moore, who has known Dunn. And Bauer through decades of work in Democratic politics. Serving as political director in Bill Clinton’s White House. “For Joe Biden, what he got from both of them is history — they’re experienced. They’re unstoppable, they don’t need the limelight. … People can’t be punished for wanting to be real public servants. They don’t have to.”
SKDK, where Dunn is a partner, is one of Washington’s top PR firms. With a roster of high-powered clients spanning corporate America. Democratic campaigns and the nonprofit world. And in a city whose currency power. Dunn’s long career at the top of politics has led to success even outside of government.
When Don filed a financial disclosure late last year. When he political returned to a full-time position at the White House. It showed an investment portfolio estimated to be worth between $18 million. And $46 million that he had to divest.
Former colleagues and associates describe Dunn as the ultimate strategist. Always thinking five and six steps ahead of everyone else.
Donne recognized early in Barack Obama’s first campaign. That Michelle Obama would have a gift. With the public but was not getting the kind of publicity she deserved. Dunn called Stephanie Cutter — a longtime Democratic operative. Who was involved in Biden’s 2020 campaign and said she has worked with Bauer. And Dunn for 25 years, going back to the Daschle days — and encouraged her to take the job with Michelle Obama.