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De Pasquale's Dozen With Dana Perino

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.

If you follow Fox News host Greg Gutfeld on Twitter, you’re privy to the secret life of Dana Perino, his cohost on “The Five” and a frequent guest on “Red Eye with Greg Gutfeld.” Among his tidbits on Perino:


- Just saw Dana Perino at a Jamba Juice asking for a smoothie made of glitter and kitten whiskers. #disgusting

- Wow. Dana Perino just muscled into a photo I was asked for by fans. She can't resist the sound of a camera.

- Fun fact: Dana Perino 's glittery backpack is temperature cooled to preserve 4 koala head

Now you may be thinking Gutfeld is just being silly, as Perino is universally known as one of the nicest people in the political world. However, for nearly eight years Perino held positions that required her to deal with the D.C. press every single day. In 2001 she served as spokesperson for the Department of Justice. Two years later she joined the communications team for the White House Council on Environmental Quality. Beginning in 2005 she served as Deputy Press Secretary for George W. Bush. Then in 2007 she replaced the inestimable Tony Snow and was promoted to Assistant to the President, effectively making her the White House Press Secretary.

For 15 months Perino interacted with the press on a daily basis. And if that wasn’t bad enough, during President Bush’s infamous press conference in Baghdad when a TV journalist threw two shoes at the him, she was injured by a microphone stand during the scuffle. She put on a cheerful face, saying “Sure I would take a shoe for the President.”

Finally, she now spends five days a week with Bob Beckel on “The Five.” In other words, it seems perfectly logical for Perino to have a secret dark side after all she’s been through!


Each week the De Pasquale's Dozen asks political figures and free market-minded writers and entertainers to take a break from politics and talk about their pop culture obsessions.

1. What one thing would you do as President "just because you could"?

I once asked President Bush about this - whether when he took over he asked to see the Roswell files. He just winked. I don't know if that's because he had asked to see the file, or if he was just amused by me. I'll tell you what I would not do - go on a date in another city using Air Force One and all of the government assets that comes along with it.

2. Tell me about your favorite teacher and how he or she influenced your life.

I remember Mrs. Rittenbaum of Ellis Elementary School in Denver very well. She had a reading contest, which fit my competitive nature. And she also took us on trips around the world - without leaving the classroom. She would set up our chairs as if we were on an airplane, and then on the "flight" she would teach us about the country we were going to visit - the language the people spoke, the cultural highlights, and any famous historical references. When we arrived at the destination, we would have food from that country to sample. One of the trips we took was to Madagascar. I was fascinated thinking about how that country used to be a physical part of Africa. Later in school when we studied plate tectonics, I always remembered that day. It was also the first time I ever had a pomegranate. I went home and told my mom I wanted a pomegranate. She was from Rawlins, WY and had never bought one. She went to several stores to find one - then when my sister and I tried to eat it and made a mess, I think she probably wished Mrs. Rittenbaum had never taken us to Madagascar.


3. If you could be paid to do anything besides your current job, what would it be?

I've wondered about putting together my communications and management skills along with my love of helping private sector and charitable efforts in Africa; I'm not frugal, but I'm a good money manager and love to think three steps ahead to make programs work better. I didn't go to business school, but I'm a big believer in ROI - return on investment, and there is a lot that could be done on the ground through coordinating well intentioned efforts.

4. Tell me about a public or private moment when you thought to yourself, "This is what Elvis felt like every day.”

When I went with Mrs. Laura Bush on her book tour, we went to the Oprah show. Everyone was so friendly and genuinely happy to see her. I said, "This must be what it feels like to be Robert Gibbs, working for a wildly popular politician!"

5. What's your current “guilty pleasure” non-news television show?

Justified. It is a fantastic program. One of my favorite themes from the show is that with U.S. Deputy Marshall Raylen Givens in charge, actions have consequences. When he smokes someone after giving them a warning, he's justified. Old school. Love it.

6. What’s the best present you ever received as a child?

A pony named Sally. My grandfather purchased her for me when I was born and she lived at his ranch for years.


7. Who would be on the perfect "Red Eye" panel?

Anyone but Greg Gutfeld. HA! Funny thing about “Red Eye” - since I usually go to bed before 10 p.m., I had never seen “Red Eye.” And I had only once met Greg in passing. He and I didn't get to know each other until “The Five” taped its pilot in June 2011. Now he's the brother I never wanted. There is a whole bunch of smarts put into “Red Eye” - everyone is terrific.

8. What advice do you remember your mother or father giving you? Did you take it?

When I was about 8 years old, my parents got me a yellow tshirt with black lettering that said in all caps: ANYTHING BOYS CAN DO GIRLS CAN DO BETTER. I don't believe that now, but at the time, it gave me a bit of confidence at a time when girls start feeling like they aren't as good at math/science/sports as the boys. I must have loved that shirt because in our family photo albums, I wear it multiple summers, even when it got all faded.

9. If Republicans and Democrats had theme songs for 2012 what would they be?

GOP: “Home” by my favorite country star, Dierks Bentley

Dems: “Bait a Hook” by Justin Moore

10. What books are on your reading list?

Bed by David Whitehouse

The Art of Happiness by His Holiness the Dalai Lama

The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson

The Wake of Forgiveness by Bruce Machart

11. What would you like tomorrow's headline to say?


Record number of unemployed find excellent and secure jobs.

12. Tell me about the moment you decided to be enter the political arena.

In third grade my dad started a tradition with me where I had to read the Rocky Mountain News and the Denver Post before he got home from work. I had to pick out two articles to discuss before dinner. That's the moment I point to when I think of my interest in public affairs and journalism; I always thought I would be on the journalism side, but that changed after graduate school when I got a chance to work for the late Rep. Dan Schaefer (R-CO).

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