At a Glance
- Career History: President of Americans United for Change (March 2007 to February 2009); Senior communication adviser for the DNC (June 2008 to November 2008); Consultant for Hildebrand Tewes Consulting (October 2005 to March 2007); Communications Director for Americans United to Protect Social Security (February 2005 to October 2005); Communications Director for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (March 2003 to November 2004)
- Birthday: November 7, 1967
- Hometown: Raleigh, N.C.
- Alma Mater: University of South Carolina, B.A. (political science), 1991
Path to Power
Woodhouse was born into a political family in Raleigh, N.C. His parents both worked for North Carolina Gov. Terry Sanford (D) in the 1960s, and they were even married in the governor's mansion. His mother was the governor's personal secretary and his father ran Sanford's youth college campus effort during the governor's campaign.
Both parents were also involved in local political races, and they encouraged their children to follow the local news and participate. They did. Woodhouse works for the DNC, and his brother, Dallas, works for Americans for Prosperity, a conservative group. They argue over politics at Thanksgiving dinner and have worked on opposing ad campaigns in the past. "My mom plays referee," Woodhouse said.
"The DNC is not just about party operations or trying to win elections," Woodhouse said. Obviously, that's still a major goal, but with Democrats in control of both houses of Congress and the White House, the organization is much more focused on helping the president pass his agenda.
Organizing for America
When Obama came to Washington, he brought with him a massive political apparatus that Democratic operatives want to employ in the service of the president's agenda.
Woodhouse was hired to work at the DNC by Jen O'Malley Dillon, who took over as executive director in 2009.
Woodhouse has a lot of White House connections as well (even outside of Dillon's husband Patrick, the deputy director of political affairs in the White House). Woodhouse worked with Obama press secretary Robert Gibbs in the late 1990s in Rep. Bobby Etheridge's (D-N.C.) office. While at Americans United, he also worked closely with Jim Messina against President George W. Bush's attempt to move part of Social Security into private accounts. Messina, who was chief of staff for Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mt.), the ranking Democrat on the Finance Committee, was a key player in that debate and is now deputy chief of staff for Obama. Woodhouse also worked at the consulting firm of Paul Tewes and Steve Hildebrand, both Obama advisers, and he knows deputy Obama communications director Dan Pfeiffer from 2004, when Woodhouse worked for the DSCC and Pfeiffer was working for Tom Daschle's re-election campaign.