You are using an outdated browser.
Please upgrade your browser
and improve your visit to our site.
Skip Navigation

Ellen Moran: The Obama-clinton Thaw Continues

Today Barack Obama announced his White House communications team: Ellen Moran as communications director, Robert Gibbs as press secretary, and Dan Pfeiffer as Moran's deputy.

Gibbs and Pfeiffer were core members of Obama's campaign media team, so no shock there. But the name of Moran, a longtime Democratic operative who since 2005 has been executive director of the pro-choice fundraising group Emily's List, comes as a surprise. Unlike the others, she's not a member of Obama's inner circle and played no role in his campaign. In fact, she was actually a strong supporter of Hillary Clinton in the primaries.

And Emily's List didn't just endorse Hillary over Obama--the group stuck with her to the bitter end, only endorsing Obama on June 6, after Hillary dropped out of the race. Moran's boss, Ellen Malcolm, publicly smacked the abortion rights outfit NARAL for backing Obama in mid-May, by which time it was clear Hillary would lose. (Malcolm called the move "tremendously direspectful" to Clinton.)

Moran, who donated money to Hillary, even expressed her disappointment about the primary's outcome to The Progressive this summer: "There are women activists who waited their whole lives to see [a woman president]ju. and to have this chance and I’m kind of one of them." (Moran added that she fully supported Obama over McCain.)

Another sign that Obama is just not much of a grudge-bearer.

P.S. This 2004 Washington Post article may provide another key bit of context: 

The DNC's independent-expenditure operation is being run out of first-floor offices in a non-descript building across South Capitol Street from party headquarters in Washington to keep it legally separate from the DNC. It will be supervised by Ellen Moran, who has coordinated similar activities for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and has worked for Emily's List, a political group that has raised millions of dollars on behalf of female Democratic candidates who support abortion rights. Moran declined to provide a budget estimate for her program, although other sources said $100 million is likely to be a conservative amount.

She has hired the Chicago media firm Axelrod & Associates, which produced ads for the presidential campaign of Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.), and the Northern Virginia media firm Murphy Putnam Shorr and Partners, which worked for the presidential campaign of Rep. Richard A. Gephardt (D-Mo.). [emphasis added]

--Michael Crowley