Ten Years Ago, Kevin Sullivan Said Goodbye to the Dallas Mavericks' Front Office. Next Week, He Moves Out of the West Wing.
A decade ago, I interviewed Kevin Sullivan on his last day as the Dallas Mavericks' vice president of communications, a job he'd held for 18 years -- since the team's inception in 1980. It seemed like a good idea to do another exit interview today, because Sullivan, pictured above with President Bush, will once more be out of a job a week from today. He will still hold the title of White House Communications Director till January 20, and there will still be work in need of finishing, but come next Friday, Sullivan will be out of the West Wing. After all, desks need to be cleaned out and walls need to be cleared off in advance of the next administration's move-in date, 11 days from now. The West Wing will need a fresh coat of paint.
In these waning days of the Bush Administration... +Continue Reading
WASHINGTON — As he introduced his new choice for secretary of health and human services in the East Room this week, President Obama turned his head from right to left, but he wasn’t looking at the audience. He was reading from two teleprompters, strategically set up outside the tight television camera shot.
When he was done, the teleprompters quietly began retracting down to the floor. As she stepped forward to make her own remarks, his nominee, Kathleen Sebelius, seemed momentarily surprised.
“Don’t mind the little—— “ Mr. Obama said with a smile.
“It’s disappearing!” she joked.
Presidents have been using teleprompters for more than half a century, but none relied on them as extensively as Mr. Obama has so far. While presidents typically have used them for... +Continue Reading
Bush: The Difficult Decisions
In October 2006, things were not going well for George W. Bush or the Republicans. Iraq was a mess, and the fast-approaching midterm elections looked as though they would be a disaster. But the president was determined to give it his all, and that was how I found myself in suburban Detroit at a campaign rally for U.S. Senate hopeful Mike Bouchard.
I was a few months into my tenure as White House communications director — and a million miles removed from the press table at Reunion Arena, where I had been the Mavericks communications guy for almost two decades.
As the president concluded his remarks, I hustled for the motorcade. You see, just as the Mavericks team bus doesn’t wait for the PR guy, the presidential motorcade doesn’t wait... +Continue Reading
During a White House meeting last year on possible venues for press conferences, President Bush recalled seeing pictures of Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman talking to a swarm of reporters around the desk at the Oval Office.
Bush wondered whether it was feasible to return to pre-televisions days and occasionally conduct a press conference at his desk. Kevin Sullivan, the White House director of communications, replied, “yeah, sort of like ‘throwback jersey day’ at the ballpark.”