Elisabeth Meinecke

Dana Perino, the former White House press secretary, opens up about the struggles she faced during the 2008 campaign season, her new gig at Fox News and the senator she thinks will one day sit in the Oval Office.

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From Townhall Magazine's EXCLUSIVE December feature "Always Trendy: A Talk With Dana Perino":

It's something Dana Perino still struggles with: President George W. Bush's decision to turn the other cheek during the 2008 presidential election cycle. That campaign season, both parties' nominees buttered their bread by running against Bush's record, and the outgoing president chose a classy, yet hard-to-swallow response: he stayed out of it.

"I still wrestle with that, because I know it was the right thing to do from a Republican Party standpoint and for John McCain. ... But I don't like what it did to President Bush's reputation," the former White House press secretary tells Townhall. She does admint, however, that the president's approach was probably the correct on in the long run.

Since leaving the White House at the end of Bush's presidency, Perino's voice has remained relevant on the political scene despite the overblown winds of 'change' which followed her boss's departure. Her way with words is now being utilized through her consulting firm, Dana Perino and Company, and in her position as the editorial director of Crown Forum. As of last August, she also regularly co-hosts Fox News's new program "The Five."

Perino doesn't take these opportunities for granted.

"I'm also extremely grateful that I have a lot of opportunity right now--to be employed, to be an employer, and to have staff that I am able to pay out of my hard-earned dollars that I work for--and also to have this place at Fox News, where I can express myself to a lot more than the 5 people I used to send my daily outrage e-mails to," Perino says.

Her job as co-host is a chance to introduce Americans to an aspect of Perino that they rarely witnessed during her time in the White House. For much of the last decade, the country knew Perino as the woman responsible for articulating the policies of the Bush administration, from her time in the Justice Department in 2001 to her days at the briefing room podium. But as a co-host on "The Five," Perino can simply speak for herself.

It's a change she finds refreshing.

"There is a little bit of a liberation to being able to say, 'Oh wait, no, I'm not for that,' or 'I don't agree with that,' or also being able to say, 'President Bush was right on that,' or, 'We got it wrong when it came to x or y,'" Perino says. "I'm just myself. I do my research, I think things through. I don't have the White House Situation Room to think about when I'm answering questions."

Read more of Townhall's interview with Dana Perino in the December issue of Townhall Magazine, including:

  • -- the senator she thinks will one day be president
  • -- how she dealt with the pressure of Washington, D.C.
  • -- reflections on her former boss, President George W. Bush: "I'm still for George W. Bush, and I'm not ashamed to say it. ... "

Order Townhall Magazine today to read the full interview in the December issue.

 

 


Elisabeth Meinecke

Elisabeth Meinecke is TOWNHALL MAGAZINE Managing Editor. Follow her on Twitter @lismeinecke.