Jennifer Palmieri, a veteran Democratic operative, has been tapped to join the White House as deputy communications director, an administration official said Monday.
Palmieri spent eight years in the Clinton White House, including three years as deputy press secretary. She is currently senior vice president for communications at the Center for American Progress, the liberal think tank.
“Jen is one of the best communicators in either party, and we’re lucky she’s on our side of the ledger and agreed to come back in and do this,” deputy Obama campaign manager Stephanie Cutter said Monday. “She’s one of the few who has significant credibility not only with media but with the progressive community.”
Palmieri is perhaps best known for her extensive work for Elizabeth Edwards, whom she helped during the rough, final years of her life. Palmieri, who was the national press secretary for John Edwards in 2004, grew close with the candidate’s wife after becoming disenchanted with his behavior, and ultimately became one of Mrs. Edwards’ most loyal advisers after her husband’s affair became public and her cancer spread.
Palmieri is well-known by political reporters and operatives alike, and will bring an outspokenness and stature to the role. Her arrival adds another Clinton graduate to the Obama team, a growing trend as President Obama gears up for reelection: Clinton hands Gene Sperling, Bruce Reed and John Podesta have taken on new roles in the administration over the past year.
Palmieri also worked as a special assistant to Leon Panetta when he was Clinton’s chief of staff.
Friends described her as a savvy pick; when the position first became open, after the departure of Jen Psaki, several of Palmieri’s friends said they were uncertain whether she would consider returning to the constant churn of the White House.
“Jennifer was a tremendous leader at American Progress and she’ll be a fantastic asset to the president and his team,” Neera Tanden, the president of CAP, said Monday.
This post has been updated since it was first published.