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Getting To Know Melody Barnes

NAME: Melody Barnes

NEW APPOINTMENT: Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council.

HOW SHE KNOWS OBAMA: Domestic policy adviser to the campaign; co-director of the transition's agency review; worked with transition chair John Podesta at the Center for American Progress (CAP).

OTHER TOP POSITIONS: Executive vice president of CAP (left in June); chief counsel to Senator Ted Kennedy; Director of Legislative Affairs for the U. S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission; assistant counsel to the U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Subcommittee on Civil and Constitutional Rights; board member of EMILY's List (the executive director of which was recently named White House communications director).

KNOWN FOR: As leader of CAP's Faith and Progressive Policy Initiative, she called for Democrats to have a "values-based conversation" about domestic policy, and argued that progressive convictions aren't antithetical to religious ones. 

CONTROVERSIES: In 2004, a conservative group filed a complaint against Senator Kennedy, Barnes, and another Kennedy staffer on grounds that they had conspired to delay a federal court nomination until a key affirmative action case had been decided. The alleged information was gleaned from stolen memos. The complaint was dismissed.

TRIVIA: Washingtonian listed her in 2007 as one of DC's ten best-dressed women. Also in 2007, she penned an op-ed for The Washington Post offering a State of the Union address that a progressive president might give.

Seyward Darby