Inside American Politics 2021
November 5, 2021
Political experts and strategists joined the John Brademas Center and the Brennan Center for Justice for a series of dialogues where the panelists discussed President Biden's agenda, the current state of the Grand Old Party (GOP), looking ahead to the 2024 presidential election, and the current political landscape in Washington. This series provided attendees with the opportunity to learn from experts and practitioners in order to gain an insider's view of the American political system.
This year's session consisted of three panel discussions. Registration was required in order to receive the Zoom log-in details, and this program was recorded.
2:00 PM Welcome & Introductions
- Welcome to NYU DC / Kari Miller, NYU DC Program Director
- Introduction to Inside American Politics and Participants / Ellyn Toscano, Advisory Board Member, John Brademas Center of NYU
2:10 PM Panel One: “The Biden Agenda: Bridging Democratic Policy Divisions Between Progressives and Moderates”
When Democrats won the White House and control of Congress in 2020 (albeit narrowly), progressives hoped to pass landmark legislation to address climate change, infrastructure needs, and a significant expansion of the social safety net, in terms of health care, child care, and education from pre-K to community college. A handful of moderates has been successful in downsizing those plans. Will this be a help or a hindrance for the party in the mid-term election? How do the Democrats move their agenda forward?
Moderator: Kiki McLean
Panelists: Karen Finney, John Anzalone, Jonathan Martin
10 Minute Break
3:20 PM Panel Two: “The Grand Old Party (GOP): How Donald Trump Changed The Republican Party in His Image”
For generations, the Republican Party governed and campaigned on a pro-business, free market, limited government agenda. Since the 2020 election, Republicans have coalesced around a very different set of policies advanced during the Trump presidency: more populist and protectionist and less fiscally conservative. Going into the midterm elections, are we likely to see any change in the Republican Party’s agenda or strategy? If the 2022 election is a referendum on the Biden presidency, what can we expect in 2024?
Moderator: Betsy Fischer Martin
Panelists: Elise Jordan, Joel Benenson, Michael Steele
10 Minute Break
4:30 PM Panel Three: “Looking Ahead to the 2024 Presidential Election and the Issues That Will Drive the Electorate”
What are the issues that will motivate the electorate in the next presidential election? Who will the candidates be: Trump vs Biden? Can we expect primaries in either or both parties? Will Black voters determine the Democratic nominee in 2024? Who runs, who wins and why?
Moderator: Lisa Benenson
Panelists: Doug Thornell, Stephanie Cutter, Rob Collins
5:30 PM Closing Remarks & Thank You
- Closing Remarks and Thank You / Lynne Brown, Executive Director, John Brademas Center of NYU
Meet the Experts
John Anzalone, Partner, ALG Research
John Anzalone is one of the nation’s top pollsters and messaging strategists. He has more than twenty-five years of polling experience and was most recently the chief pollster for President Joe Biden’s campaign. This marks his fourth presidential campaign, after having polled for both Barack Obama (2008 & 2012) and Hillary Clinton (2016). As a pollster, he has helped elect U.S. senators, governors, dozens of members of Congress and numerous other office holders up and down the ballot.
John and his firm work with Democratic governors across the country, including Governors Gretchen Whitmer (MI), Steve Sisolak (NV), and Ned Lamont (CT), who are up for re-election in 2022. In 2020, John helped Governor Roy Cooper win a second term in North Carolina (a state that Trump won that year), and in 2019 he helped to re-elect Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards. During the 2018 midterms, John’s firm helped flip five GOP congressional seats as well as elect Kyrsten Sinema to the U.S. Senate in Arizona.
John and his team at ALG Research work regularly with the Democratic Governors Association, Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, House Majority PAC, and Senate Majority PAC. They also work with important Democratic allies like the Human Rights Campaign, Emily’s List, The Hub Project, and Planned Parenthood.
Prior to his polling career, Anzalone was a campaign operative and was one of the first staffers in Iowa for Joe Biden for President in 1987. He also worked for Democratic strategist James Carville on U.S. Senator Frank Lautenberg’s 1988 campaign as his Political Director. He began his political career as an aide to David Wilhelm (who later became DNC Chairman) at Citizens for Tax Justice and the AFL-CIO, and then went on to manage campaigns in five states.
The son of two union members, John grew up in St. Joseph, Michigan, and graduated from Kalamazoo College in Kalamazoo, Michigan. John is married and has four children, four dogs, and lives in Montgomery, Alabama.
Joel Benenson, Founder and CEO, Benenson Strategy Group
Joel Bennson is one of the leading political and corporate strategists in the world. Benenson led the award-winning research and polling programs for President Obama’s 2008 and 2012 campaigns. Throughout his career as a pollster and strategist, he has been a trusted advisor to heads of state, political leaders, Fortune 100 companies and their CEOs, and leaders of major advocacy and nonprofit institutions. Named "Pollster of the Year" by the American Association of Political Consultants and ranked among the "most powerful" people in D.C. by GQ, Benenson has left his mark at the highest level of politics. In addition to his role with President Obama, Benenson served as Senior Strategist to Hillary Clinton, Prime Minister Gordon Brown and worked on President Bill Clinton’s team during the 1996 race. Prior to becoming a pollster, Benenson was a political journalist for the New York Daily News and served as communications director for Governor Mario Cuomo’s 1994 campaign. Benenson is known for his unique combination of communication expertise and an aggressive analytical approach that produces winning messaging strategies in the most challenging situations.
Lisa Benenson, Vice President for Communications and Strategy, Brennan Center for Justice
Lisa Benenson is the Vice President for Communications and Strategy at the Brennan Center for Justice. In that role, she serves on the organization’s executive team, and leads the Brennan Center’s communications strategies and initiatives, marketing and brand, and digital presence. She was previously the Deputy Director of Communications for UNICEF’s global operations, and served as the Chief Communications Officer for the Natural Resources Defense Council. Before embarking on her career in non-profits, Benenson was a journalist. She was a consulting editor at Newsweek and The Daily Beast; the founding editor of Hallmark Magazine, and the editorial director at Working Mother and Working Woman magazines. She was also a reporter and editor at The Denver Post and Newsday. Benenson has appeared on NBC’s Today Show and was a contributor for the Weekend Today Show. She has also appeared on NBC Nightly News, the CBS Evening News, Oprah, Good Morning America, The Fox Report and other national broadcast programs. She is a board member at P olaris, a leading nonprofit in the fight to eradicate modern slavery.
Rob Collins, Partner, S-3 Public Affairs
Rob Collins is a veteran strategist and partner at S-3 Public Affairs since 2015. In the Spring of 2017, the Collins ‘quarterbacked’ the successful bipartisan nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the United States Supreme Court. Prior to S-3, Collins was the Executive Director of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), a $125 million, 80-person organization responsible for electing Republicans to the U.S. Senate. During his tenure at the NRSC he helped reelect 12 incumbents and elect 12 new Republicans. These pickups were a part of a historic 9-seat gain for the Republicans, the largest GOP-gain ever.
Before taking over at the NRSC, Collins was a partner at Purple Strategies, a bipartisan consulting firm. He also ran the American Action Network (AAN), which raised over $30 million for advocacy in 5 Senate races and 35 House districts that helped the Republicans retake the House of Representatives in 2010. While at AAN, he created the Hispanic Leadership Network co-chaired by Governor Jeb Bush and Secretary Carlos Gutierrez. Before starting the Network, Collins spent 7 years as Chief of Staff for Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA). Collins graduated from Franklin and Marshall College. He and his wife live in Maryland with their four children.
Stephanie Cutter, Founding Partner, Precision Strategies, and Former Deputy Campaign Manager and Senior Advisor to President Obama
Stephanie Cutter is the founding partner of Precision Strategies, a leading communications, digital and data targeting consulting firm in Washington DC and New York City. At Precision, Stephanie has revolutionized the integration of datadriven communications with digital and campaign style organizing to improve reputations, manage crises and drive people to action. She has improved the brand of one of the nation’s largest health insurers during a controversial merger; successfully launched a news network; restored the reputation of a multinational financial institution; reshaped a national storyline on behalf of a leading NFL quarterback; and successfully managed a global crisis for a well known consumer tech platform. Called “one of the most prominent voices in the [Democratic] party, and one of its top strategists and crisis managers” by Politico, Stephanie has crafted high-level communications, reputation and crisis-management strategies for two U.S. Presidents, U.S. Senate leaders, and the nation’s highest profile political campaigns and Fortune 500 corporations. The New York Times called her “the polished, sometimes scarily organized strategist who gets things done” who “has a long and favorable reputation with some of the most influential journalists and opinion makers in Washington.” GQ named her one of “the 50 most powerful people in Washington.” Stephanie served as Deputy Campaign Manager for President Barack Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign, where she played a pivotal role in designing and executing a game-changing campaign that broke barriers in understanding, reaching, and connecting with more Americans than any election in history. Previously, Stephanie served in various senior positions within the Obama administration and campaign, from managing the President’s message strategy and issue development in the White House, to serving as First Lady Michelle Obama’s Chief of Staff, to counselor to Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner. Before the Obama administration, Stephanie served as a senior advisor to Minority Leader Harry Reid and Democratic Senator Edward M. Kennedy. In 2004, she served as Communications Director for the John Kerry for President Campaign. She also held various positions within the Clinton Administration, including President Clinton’s White House Deputy Communications Director. A Massachusetts native, Stephanie lives in Washington, DC with her son, and is a graduate of Smith College and Georgetown University Law Center. Stephanie is currently a contributor to ABC News, and is a former co-host of CNN’s Crossfire show. Stephanie is represented by Leading Authorities Speakers Bureau in Washington, D.C.
Karen Finney, Democratic Strategist and Political Commentator for CNN
A leading democratic strategist and Political Commentator for CNN, Karen Finney is an independent consultant working with political and corporate clients on crisis communications, branding, public affairs, polling and strategy. She was a Senior Advisor to Stacey Abrams’ Gubernatorial campaign, the Democratic National Committee and AL Media in the 2018 election cycle. Finney served as Senior Advisor and Senior Spokesperson for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign.
From her experience working in media, national politics, political and communications strategy in both the public and private sectors, Finney brings a unique perspective to her work. She was a political analyst and hosted her own show on MSNBC, “Disrupt with Karen Finney,”. Her experience includes work on four presidential campaigns, the Clinton Administration, and she was the Democratic National Committee’s first African American spokeswoman, helping to lead the DNC’s communications strategy for the “50 State Strategy,” successful 2006 Congressional elections and 2008 presidential campaign.
Douglas Heye, Fellow, Harvard Kennedy School, Institute of Politics; Political Commentator, CNN
A veteran of politics since 1990, Douglas Heye has served in leading communicatians positions in the House of Representatives and United States Senate, the Republican National Committee and the George W. Bush Administration. Having made more than 1000 television interviews, most recently as a CNN Political Commentator, Heye continues to provide analysis on domestic and international political events to major cable networks and is a Washington Post contributing writer.
As Deputy Chief of Staff for the Majority Leader of the House of Representatives, Heye garnered on the record bipartisan praise for his team-building, crisis communications and strategic planning abilities. Roll Call named Heye one of the "Fabulous 50," noting his ability to "set the tone and frame the debate" as someone "in the room when decisions are made" in the United States Capitol.
Heye has been called a "pro's pro" in POLITICO by his counterpart at the Democratic National Committee for his handling of what CNN labeled "one af the most demanding jobs in Washington." Of his ability to connect with an audience, POLITICO remarked, "when the red camera light turns on, Heye doesn't disappoint." His positive take on television interviews is perhaps best known for as Sarah Silverman's Republican "blind date," on her Hulu prograrm, "l Love You, America."
Heye was a Fall 2015 Resident Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School's Institute of Politics, focusing on crisis communications, and serves on the Harvard Kennedy School/John F. Kennedy Library Museum New Frontier Awards committee, helping identify a new generation of leaders changing their communities and the country with their committment to public service.
Heye is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he current sits on the University's Board of Visitors.
Elise Jordan, Political Analyst, NBC and MSNBC; Contributor, Time
Elise Jordan is a political analyst for NBC News and MSNBC and a contributor to Time. Elise was an advisor to Senator Rand Paul’s 2016 presidential campaign. During the Bush administration, she worked in the White House Office of Presidential Speechwriting and at the State Department as a speechwriter to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. In 2007, Elise joined the National Security Council, where she worked on press and communications strategy for the administration’s Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan policies. While at the White House, Elise worked at the U.S. Embassy Baghdad and in the Commanding General’s Strategic Advisory Group at the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) headquarters in Kabul, Afghanistan. She was born and raised in Holly Springs, Mississippi, and is a graduate of Yale University. Elise, her husband Mike Hogan, their daughter Mary Clyde, and their Corgi Bobby Sneakers live in Sag Harbor, New York
Betsy Fischer Martin, Executive Director, Women & Politics Institute, American University and Former Executive Producer of "Meet the Press"
Betsy Fischer Martin is an Emmy-winning journalist and former TV news executive. Currently she is the Executive Director of the Women & Politics Institute at American University and a member of the International Advisory Council of APCO Worldwide. She also founded her own consulting business, Fischer Martin Media, where she specializes in providing media training to corporate executives. During the 2016 presidential campaign cycle, she was a contributor to Bloomberg Politics where she co-hosted “Masters in Politics” - a political podcast featuring interviews with presidential candidates, government officials and key strategists. She was also the Contributing Editor for Washington for MORE Magazine where she interviewed female political leaders about policy issues, women’s empowerment and leadership. Additionally, she traveled abroad extensively on behalf of the State Department’s Bureau of International Information Programs, speaking to foreign journalists, students and political/civic organizations as an independent expert on U.S. elections, women in politics and women in media. During her earlier career in television news, she spent 23 years at NBC News serving as the longtime Executive Producer of Meet the Press with Tim Russert and as the Managing Editor of NBC News Political Programming. A native of New Orleans, Fischer Martin did her undergraduate and graduate work at American University in Washington, DC. She is a cum laude graduate of their School of Public Affairs and earned a master’s degree in Broadcast Journalism from the AU School of Communications.
Jonathan Martin, National Political Correspondent, The New York Times
Jonathan Martin is a national political correspondent for The New York Times. Before joining The Times, he had served as senior political writer for Politico since its inception in 2007. He began covering politics for National Journal’s political publication, The Hotline, and then reported on party politics and the aftermath of the 2006 midterm elections for National Review magazine. Mr. Martin is a co-author of the New York Times best seller “The End of the Line: Romney vs. Obama: The 34 Days That Decided the Election” (December 2012), the fourth and final e-book in Politico’s 2012 series on the race for the presidency. His work has been published in The New Republic, National Journal, The Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal. He has appeared frequently on television and radio as a political analyst and commentator, including on CNN, ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS, MSNBC and NPR.
Catherine “Kiki” McLean, Public Affairs and Political Strategist; Treasurer, Democratic Governors’ Association
Catherine “Kiki” McLean is a leading public affairs and political strategist. McLean is recognized for her record of building successful teams and organizations and developing impactful strategies. She established the Walton Family Political and Communications office which she led for over five years and prior to that was the managing director of Porter Novelli’s Washington DC office, led its global public affairs practice and served on the company’s executive committee.
Kiki’s expertise is in strategic communications and public affairs. A veteran of six presidential campaigns, including the historic 1992 Clinton-Gore campaign, she has more than 25 years of experience leading high profile, complicated initiatives in the political and business sectors. She served as senior advisor to the Hillary Clinton for President Campaign in 2008 and has served as spokesperson and led communications for Vice President Al Gore, Senator Joe Lieberman, the Democratic National Committee, and others.
Kiki McLean is a native of San Antonio, Texas, and received her Bachelor of Liberal Arts degree in Communications from Austin College in Sherman, Texas. She is the treasurer of the Democratic Governors’ Association. Previous board service includes with Polaris and Planned Parenthood Action Fund.
Michael Steele, Former RNC Chairman, Former Lt. Governor of Maryland
When he was elected Lt. Governor of Maryland in 2003, Michael Steele made history as the first African American elected to statewide office; and again with his subsequent chairmanship of the Republican National Committee in 2009.
As chairman of the RNC, Michael Steele was charged with revitalizing the Republican Party. A self-described "Lincoln Republican," under Steele’s leadership the RNC broke fundraising records (over $198 million raised during the 2010 Congressional cycle) and Republicans won 63 House seats, the biggest pickup since 1938. His commitment to grassroots organization and party building at the state and local levels produced 12 governorships and the greatest share of state legislative seats since 1928 (over 760 seats).
As Lt. Governor of Maryland, Mr. Steele’s priorities included reforming the state's Minority Business Enterprise program, improving the quality of Maryland's public education system (he championed the State’s historic Charter School law), expanding economic development in the state and fostering cooperation between government and faith-based organizations to help those in need.
Mr. Steele’s ability as a communicator and commentator has been showcased through his current role as a political analyst for MSNBC. He has appeared on Meet the Press, Face the Nation, HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher, and Comedy Central's The Daily Show. In addition to his work in television, Mr. Steele co-hosted the daily radio program, Steele & Ungar on the POTUS Channel on SiriusXM and is the host of the podcast The Michael Steele Podcast.
Mr. Steele’s writings on law, business and politics have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The Hill.com, The Grio.com, Politico.com, The Root.com, BET.com, Townhall.com, The Journal of International Security Affairs and Catholic University Law Review, among others.
He is the author of Right Now: A 12-Step Program for Defeating the Obama Agenda, which is a call to arms for grassroots America and co-author of The Recovering Politician’s Twelve Step Program to Survive Crisis.
Born at Andrews Air Force Base in Prince George’s County, Maryland, Mr. Steele was raised in Washington, DC. Upon graduating Johns Hopkins University (‘81’), he entered the Order of St. Augustine where studied for the priesthood. He is a graduate of Georgetown Law Center (’91), an Aspen Institute Rodel Fellow in Public Leadership, a University of Chicago Institute of Politics Fellow and currently a Senior Fellow at Brown University’s Institute for International and Public Affairs.
Doug Thornell, Partner, SKDK
Doug Thornell is a partner at SKDK, the head of its political advertising department, and one of the few Black media consultants in democratic politics. National Journal named him to their recent list of “50 People Changing the Game in Washington” and wrote that he “is one of the most plugged-in public affairs professionals in Washington.” Doug joined SKDK in 2011 and has served as a top advisor to Presidential, House, Senate and gubernatorial campaigns, Fortune 50 companies and progressive and civil rights organizations.
In 2020, Doug oversaw an advertising department that produced over 800 ads. He was the lead media consultant for the NAACP, Rep. Joe Morelle and part of the advertising team for the DCCC IE, Senate Majority PAC, Demand Justice and AFSCME. Doug also helped to train over a dozen women candidates as part of Emily’s List media training operation. He currently advises Senator Mark Kelly’s and State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta’s senate campaigns and Wes Moore’s campaign for Governor.
Over his 20-year career, Doug has been a lead media strategist to the Democratic National Committee, the top spokesman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, a senior aide at the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, and a top advisor to both Senator Chris Van Hollen and the Congressional Black Caucus, as well as the traveling spokesman for Governor Howard Dean’s 2004 presidential campaign.
Doug resides in Maryland and graduated from Cornell University where he played varsity football and earned a degree in government.
Ellyn Toscano, Senior Director for Programming, Partnerships, and Community Engagement for NYU in Brooklyn, NYU Tisch; Advisory Board Member, John Brademas Center of NYU
Ellyn Toscano is New York University’s Senior Director for Programming, Partnerships and Community Engagement in Brooklyn. In this position, she is charged with fostering programming partnerships at the intersection of technology, new media and the arts, and establishing new programming and strategic partnerships with Brooklyn’s civic, cultural, business and educational communities.
Before assuming these duties, Toscano was Executive Director of New York University Florence: Director of Villa La Pietra, a 15th century villa and historic garden that houses a collection of six thousand objects dating from the Etruscans to the 20th century, and the founder and Producer of The Season, a summer festival that assembles artists, writers, musicians and public intellectuals to produce new works or reinterpretations of classics in the Villa’s Renaissance revival gardens. She founded and directed La Pietra Dialogues, a year-long series of conferences, talks and exhibitions on a wide array of cultural and political topics. She is the co-editor of Women and Migration: Responses in Art and History, a volume that resulted from a conference on Women and Migrations, organized in Florence in 2016.
Before arriving at New York University Florence, Ms. Toscano served as Chief of Staff and Counsel to Congressman Jose Serrano of New York for two decades, was his chief policy advisor on legislative, political and media concerns and directed his work on the Appropriations Committee. Ms. Toscano also served as Counsel to the New York State Assembly Committee on Education for nine years.
Toscano serves as a commissioner of the New York City’s Commission on Gender Equity, a member of the boards of the National Parks of Harbor Conservancy of NY and Friends of FAI (Fondo Ambiente Italiano), an Advisory Board member of both the John Brademas Center and Civitella Ranieri Foundation and served on the boards of the Bronx Museum of the Arts and the Brooklyn Academy of Music (as the representative of the Brooklyn Borough President).
A lawyer by training, Ms. Toscano earned an LLM in International Law from New York University School of Law.
Tom McIntyre, Director, External Affairs, NYU Washington, DC; Deputy Director of Programming & Outreach, John Brademas Center of NYU
Tom McIntyre works to identify public programming opportunities for the Washington, DC site. He seeks out and manages VIP speakers, links programs to academic initiatives at NYU, builds audiences, and connects events to other NYU global sites. In addition, he initiates and facilitates the participation of national experts and scholars, policymakers, professionals and entrepreneurs in both classroom lectures and special program events. Coordinating with other NYU administrators and faculty, he creates and maintains a robust program and event schedule including symposium, speaker series, lectures, and extra-curricular programming. Tom oversees the NYU DC internship program by managing the relationships with the internship providers and ensuring placements for NYU students. He works with the Assistant Vice President for Government Affairs on State Department and Embassy initiatives in Washington, DC and abroad in order to ensure that technical issues such as visas are addressed and programmatic possibilities are explored. He is the founder and director of NYU Washington, DC's DC Dialogues program.
Tom is also the Deputy Director of Programming and Outreach of New York University’s John Brademas Center where he oversees the Center’s program agenda, acts as the Congressional liaison and coordinates its Congressional Internship Program. Recently, collaborating with other Congressional centers, he has created The Young Leaders Network, connecting today’s young leaders to established policymakers, experts and mentors in Washington, DC.
Prior to joining the Brademas Center, he acted as the office administrator for New York University’s office of government and community affairs. From 1999 until 2004, Tom worked in the U.S. Senate for Senator Tom Daschle (D-SD), and was the Senator’s Director of Correspondence. Tom received his B.A. from The Catholic University of America with minors in Philosophy and Religious Studies and earned his Masters of Public Administration with a specialization in management of public and nonprofit organizations from the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service at New York University.
Tom enjoys running around the Arboritum and exploring DC nightlife. He is an avid traveler having visited nearly 40 countries and has flown enough miles to circle the earth 60 times. He looks forward to working with students on their professional career goals while they live, study and work in the city he calls home.
Steve McMahon, Democratic Strategist and Co-Founder of Purple Strategies
Steve McMahon is an attorney and co-founder of Purple Strategies, LLC, a firm that applies politically-inspired solutions to corporate reputation and business challenges. He’s advised Senators, Governors, CEOs and presidential candidates on political and communications strategies for over thirty years. McMahon began his professional career working on the Senate and political staff of Senator Edward M.Kennedy, where he served as Assistant Press Secretary and later, as Deputy Director of Kennedy’s PAC, the Fund for a Democratic Majority. McMahon began working as a political strategist and media consultant in 1987, and has worked on dozens of Senate, Gubernatorial and Mayoral campaigns across the country. McMahon worked in the U.S. presidential campaigns of Senator Edward M. Kennedy, House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt, served as senior political strategist and media consultant for Howard Dean’s presidential campaign, and produced the advertising in support of then Senator Barack Obama for the Democratic National Committee in the 2008 presidential campaign. He has also produced issue advertising for the Democratic National Committee (DNC) the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC), the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC). On the international front, McMahon and his partners worked as strategic advisors or campaign consultants on successful presidential campaigns in Nicaragua for Violetto Chamarro and in Greece for Andreas Papandreaou. For the past decade, McMahon’s principal focus has been on providing comprehensive reputation, brand image, crisis, and issue advocacy campaigns to companies and industries operating in challenging environments. Their clients have included many of the best-known brands in the world, including McDonald’s, BP and Coca-Cola. He and his colleagues have also handled numerous and initiative and referenda campaigns on a wide range of subjects and helped develop litigation communication strategies for companies engaged in significant class action and government-initiated litigation. Steve McMahon appears often as a political commentator on television network and cable stations, and appears regularly as a Democratic Strategist on MSNBC and other political programming. Steve is married to Cynthia Alksne, a former federal prosecutor and MSNBC legal analyst. The couple has four daughters.