The Gore campaign yesterday named Kathleen Begala, currently Consumer Product Safety Commission spokeswoman, as its new communications director.
Begala, 40, will move to Nashville as part of the campaign's senior management team to oversee its media operation, which has been unsettled. Gore campaign press secretary Kiki Moore is leaving at the end of this week; vice presidential press secretary Chris Lehane has moved over to the campaign and will continue as Gore's principal traveling spokesman.
"If every person got the chance to sit down and talk to Vice President and Mrs. Gore as I did this weekend. . . . there's no way you wouldn't vote for this man," Begala said last night. "I'm turning my life around because I believe he can move this country forward."
Begala, a Texas native and sister of former White House aide Paul Begala, has been at the CPSC since 1994 and is known to have good relations with the media--a major requirement of the job.
The campaign had been aggressively looking for a communications director, telling candidates that it was seeking a "professional" who could turn around the perception that the campaign and the candidate were not media-friendly. Mark Fabiani, a White House spokesman for the Whitewater scandal, turned down the job three weeks ago.
Most recently, Amy Weiss, a former spokeswoman for the Democratic National Committee, and Jim Jordan, political director for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, were also considered for the post.
Prior to joining the CPSC, Begala worked in magazine advertising in New York. She officially starts her job Saturday.