The incoming Senate Democrat leader, Harry Reid of Nevada, hired two communications staffers with ties to Massachusetts Senators Ted Kennedy and John Kerry to craft the Democrats’ message during the 109th Congress.
Reid announced Monday that Kennedy’s veteran press secretary, Jim Manley, would become staff director of the new 15-person Senate Democratic Communications Center, which will be housed in the Capitol. Manley has worked for Kennedy for the past 11 years and formerly assisted past Democrat leader George Mitchell (D.-Maine).
An aide to Kerry’s presidential campaign, Phil Singer, will come aboard as the SDCC’s communications director. Singer handled rapid response for the Kerry-Edwards campaign, directing the attacks on the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. He had previously worked for Sen. Chuck Schumer (D.-N.Y.).
“As the Democratic leader, I will ensure that all Americans — from my rural hometown of Searchlight to the nation’s big cities — know the values and principles for which Democrats stand,” Reid said in a statement. “That is why I have formed an aggressive operation with the best talent in the country to spread the word and get the truth out.”
By tapping Manley and Singer, two confidants of the Massachusetts senators, Reid has assured that the Kennedy-Kerry loyalists will wield great control over the Democrats’ message.
A third staffer, Tessa Hafen, will serve as the SDCC’s press secretary. She has worked under Reid for the past six years, recently serving as his campaign spokeswoman this year when he easily won re-election to a fourth term.
The new SDCC office opens Jan. 4 when Reid officially takes control as Democrat leader.