WASHINGTON: After a 90-day stretch as Senate majority leader Tom
Daschle's (D-SD) press secretary, Doug Hattaway, communications director
for Al Gore's 2000 Presidential campaign, has returned to Boston to
"regroup" and formally launch Hattaway Communications.
Though the agency has been functioning with a handful of clients since
January, Hattaway's involvement in the Florida recount and Daschle's
office - where he took charge on September 10 - have delayed its debut.
"We got caught up on Capitol Hill," he said. "We're just now moving into
Hattaway intends the firm to focus on political campaigns, strategic
message development, and corporate issues, particularly in the biotech
and hi-tech sectors. A Boston office is opening now, and one in
Washington is likely in the near future.
"Our strategy is to partner with media firms," he said. "We've also had
discussions with other, bigger PR agencies about partnering on public
affairs." He added that the shop is currently competing for a number of
"statewide and federal campaigns, as well as ballot initiative
Ranit Shmelzer, Daschle's full-time press secretary, is on maternity
leave until the end of the year. Democratic communications consultant
Anita Dunn, who filled the job in the weeks before Hattaway arrived,
will resume the position until then.
Regarding his time on the Hill and the anthrax scare that originated in
his boss' office, Hattaway said, "I thought I had good crisis
communications experience after the Florida recount. Now I've got
September 11 and anthrax. It's not the kind of crisis management
experience you want."