At a Glance
- Career History: White House Deputy Communications Director (January-November 2009); Communications Director for Barack Obama's transition team (November 2008 to January 2009); Deputy Communications Director for Barack Obama's 2008 presidential campaign (July 2008 to November 2008); Traveling press secretary for Barack Obama's 2008 presidential campaign (January 2008 to July 2008)
- Birthday: December 24, 1975
- Hometown: Wilmington, Del.
- Alma Mater: Georgetown University, B.A. (government), 1998
- Spouse: Sarah Feinberg
- Web site
Path to Power
Pfeiffer was born on Dec. 24, 1975, in Wilmington, Del. His mother was a learning specialist at Wilmington Friends School where her son attended, and his father was senior vice president and chief financial officer of DuPont. He went to Georgetown University to study government and graduated in 1998. Always interested in politics, Pfeiffer immediately got a job in the Clinton administration at the Justice Department, where he served as communications director for Clinton's initiative to put 100,000 cops on the street.
In the fall of 1999, Pfeiffer left Washington and moved to California to work on a ballot initiative. Proposition 28 would have repealed a 50-cent cigarette tax enacted by Proposition 10 in 1998. It was defeated overwhelmingly.
Two people - Ellen Moran (now Commerce chief of staff) and Anita Dunn - have now held the job Pfeiffer will step into when Dunn departs. He will have to decide whether to continue to aggressively engage the Fox News Channel, a battle started by Dunn, who raised eyebrows when she argued in fall 2009 that Fox was a "part of the Republican Party."
Pfeiffer has worked in communications his entire professional life, and the New York Times says he has "solid relationships with some of the most influential reporters in Washington" and "an insider's familiarity with Mr. Obama's approach to communicating, as well as an understanding of online tools like Facebook and Twitter." From using Facebook and Twitter to placing ads in video games, the Obama campaign was revolutionary in its ability to bring young people into the voting process. Pfeiffer said he wasn't a part of the video game discussion, but "this is sort of the hallmark of our campaign," he said. "We want to bring a lot of new people into the process."
Pfeiffer has worked for a half-dozen different Democrats in his relatively short political career. He worked stints for Vice President Al Gore and Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.) during their presidential run, and also staffed the offices of Sens. Tim Johnson and Evan Bayh.
But Pfeiffer is also a part of the Daschle network. He was hired by Daschle's then-chief of staff Pete Rouse, who later hired Pfeiffer to work for Barack Obama's presidential campaign. Rouse now serves as a senior White House adviser.