“At locations the place issues may break down, they didn’t, and I praise her for the style and professionalism with which she dealt with it,” says Faiz Shakir, Sanders’s marketing campaign supervisor, who remained the purpose individual for the senator’s work with the Biden marketing campaign all through the overall election. Simply take one other showdown that occurred over the conference, when Consultant Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez needed to be shoehorned right into a talking slot. Reluctant at first to incorporate her, Dunn listened to Sanders’s group about why they thought having her on-screen would assist Biden’s probabilities. They reached a compromise each teams may stay with, and although Ocasio-Cortez made clear her disappointment with getting simply 90 seconds to talk, the outrage that bubbled up on-line in response received no encouragement from Sanders.
Biden is Dunn’s fifth presidential candidate, after Jimmy Carter in 1980, John Glenn in 1984, Invoice Bradley in 2000, and Obama in 2008 and 2012. (She additionally was integral in planning the 2004 Tom Daschle presidential run that got here near taking place.) In between, she’s been concerned in Home, Senate, gubernatorial, and different races. Her life is wrapped up in her work—she first met her husband, Bob Bauer, when she was working for a Home candidate within the ’80s who wanted assist with a recount. Within the years since, Bauer additionally turned a high aide to Obama and served as his second White Home counsel. He’s now ending his time as Biden’s high lawyer by directing the response to Trump’s election lawsuits.
Staying out of the White Home will enable Dunn to work with different shoppers moreover Biden, though she insists that he’ll stay her precedence. However outdoors work carries its personal dangers. She’s taken warmth over her contacts earlier than—reminiscent of in 2017, when BuzzFeed News reported that she had informally advised Harvey Weinstein because the accusations towards him mounted. (SKDK notes that Dunn turned down Weinstein when he tried to rent her, and that SKDK represented a number of Weinstein survivors and continues to work with the Time’s Up Authorized Protection Fund.) Dunn says that the expertise was instructive in itself—for the way to method a marketing campaign, and for what the years forward would possibly embody. “It’s all the time a very good reminder to me of simply how lazy the press corps will be, as a result of I didn’t work for [Weinstein],” she mentioned. “He wasn’t a shopper. We put that out very clearly. And likewise a reminder of how nasty our left wing of our social gathering will be.”
Dunn has different critics too. Her means of figuring out who’s value her time doesn’t go over nicely with those that come up brief—such because the staffers she sidelined after Biden put her in cost, following his losses in Iowa and New Hampshire. She tries to incorporate everybody within the higher mission, she insisted. However speak to these not within the Dunn fan membership, and also you’ll hear complaints about her willingness to shove apart individuals she views as less than the job. Some within the marketing campaign additionally level to Biden’s prolonged struggles along with his stump speech and in major debates, arguing that these fell underneath her purview because the message skilled, making her answerable for these early failures. Dunn admits to often being overly protecting of Biden in ways in which don’t serve him nicely, by giving him an excessive amount of leeway for being drained or burdened at moments, for instance. When she makes one other mistake, which she’s going to, she’s going to consider a lesson she realized from her first White Home expertise, when she was an intern for Jimmy Carter’s chief of workers, Hamilton Jordan. “For those who’re sensible and also you’re good at what you do, more often than not you’re going to make good selections. For those who make a foul choice, you repair it and you progress on,” she advised me, summarizing. “However no choice is the worst choice.”