Communications Strategies in the Bush White House

John Anthony Maltese

in Assessing the George W. Bush Presidency

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print November 2009 | ISBN: 9780748627400
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748671946 | DOI:
Communications Strategies in the Bush White House

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Like most recent presidents of the United States, George W. Bush embraced an approach to governing that is sometimes referred to as ‘the permanent campaign’. Scott McClellan, who served as Bush's White House press secretary, argues that the Bush administration's ‘excessive embrace of the permanent campaign’ was most consequential in terms of policy with regard to the war in Iraq. The permanent campaign was on display from the earliest days of the Bush administration. First, following the example of Ronald Reagan, it settled on a clear, simple agenda that focused primarily on four issues: education reform, faith-based initiatives, tax cuts, and military preparedness (including the need for a missile defence system). The Bush administration's emphasis on the permanent campaign led it to reorganise its communications staff. The White House Office of Media Affairs was moved out of the Press Office and made a separate department. Arguably these adjustments reflected the administration's desire to plan and execute a public relations campaign while, at the same time, playing down the importance of the White House press corps.

Keywords: George W. Bush; United States; communications; permanent campaign; public relations; press corps; Press Office; Office of Media Affairs; Iraq; military preparedness

Chapter.  8815 words. 

Subjects: US Politics

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