Keenan is known for crafting Obama’s messages at the sober-est of times: he worked on the president’s address after the Newtown, Conn., shooting, and the speech delivered after the shooting in Tucson, Ariz., in which former Rep. Gabby Giffords (D-Ariz.) was among those injured. “Brilliant writer,” says one West Winger of the 32 year-old.
Keenan also helped shape Obama’s eulogy of Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.). Not that tragedy is his only forte — he also appeared, dressed in a goofy pirate costume, in a gag for Obama’s 2009 stand-up routine at the White House Correspondents’ Association.
Elsewhere in personnel moves, Kristin Lord, now executive vice president and director of studies at the Center for a New American Security — the think tank started by former undersecretary of defense Michele Flournoy and current assistant secretary of state Kurt Campbell — is said to be heading to the U.S. Institute of Peace to be executive vice president, taking the job once held by now-undersecretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs Tara Sonenshine.
Lord also has been a fellow at the Brookings Institution, where she directed the science and technology initiative of the project on U.S. relations with the Islamic world.
And Jodi Seth, communications director for Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) is informing contacts that she’s starting that plum job at Facebook next week. (Seth, who will be the company’s new manager of public policy and communications in Washington, had good reason to jump ship: her boss was, of course, nominated to be Obama’s Secretary of State, and he’s facing a relatively speedy confirmation process.)