Home 2017 Races Thirty Former Obama Aides Endorse Tom Perriello in New Letter

Thirty Former Obama Aides Endorse Tom Perriello in New Letter

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Finally some endorsements for Tom Perriello; some big names in here too, such as former White House Senior Advisors David Plouffe and Dan Pfeiffer, White House Political Director Patrick Gaspard, White House Domestic Policy Council Director Cecilia Munoz, White House Communications Director Jennifer Palmieri, Obama 2012 Deputy Campaign Manager Stephanie Cutter, White House Chief of Staff to First Lady Michelle Obama Tina Tchen, etc.

Thirty Former Obama Aides Endorse Tom Perriello in New Letter

‘Tom Embodies the Pragmatic Progressive Values that President Obama Fought So Hard For,’ They Write

Endorsement Underscores Momentum for Perriello Campaign and His Ability to Unite the Entire Party

In a new letter, 30 former officials from President Barack Obama‘s administration and campaigns announced their support for Tom Perriello in the Democratic primary for Virginia governor. The officials include former White House Senior Advisors David Plouffe and Dan Pfeiffer, White House Political Director Patrick Gaspard, White House Domestic Policy Council Director Cecilia Munoz, White House Communications Director Jennifer Palmieri,Obama 2012 Deputy Campaign Manager Stephanie Cutter, White House Chief of Staff to First Lady Michelle Obama Tina Tchen, White House Social Secretary Julianna Smoot, and White House Office for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships Director Joshua DuBois, among others.

In this new letter, the former Obama officials write, “Tom embodies the pragmatic progressive values that President Obama fought so hard for over the past eight years.” The endorsement also follows a Washington Post op-ed last week from Hillary Clinton’s campaign chair and former counselor to President Obama John Podesta, in which he wrote that “Tom Perriello is offering a blueprint” for the future of the Democratic Party. These endorsements spotlight the momentum of Tom’s campaign in Virginia and his ability to unite the entire Democratic Party behind his pragmatic progressive candidacy.

The letter follows recent commentary by other top Obama aides praising Tom. In January, former chief strategist for President Obama David Axelrod wrote, “Even in one term, [Perriello] was impressive force in Congress.” When Tom entered the race, then-White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said, “Perriello has served this administration with distinction. And the President did enjoy a close working relationship with him in Congress and appreciated his commitment to a set of democratic values in the context of his service in Congress. It was all too short, in the President’s view.”Additionally, Mitch Stewart, Obama’s 2008 Virginia campaign director and 2012 battleground states director, said in January, “In vote after vote, in 2009 and 2010, he was a real profile in courage — a lot of people in the administration or close to the administration admire him for that.”

In his one term in Congress, Tom was a strong ally of President Obama in the House, even though he represented a red district. Tom fought for the Affordable Care Act, supported climate change legislation, and voted for the Recovery Act to save the economy from a depression. In 2010, when many Democrats distanced themselves from President Obama, Tom campaigned with him in Virginia. Urging support for Tom on the eve of the election, President Obama said, “Let’s face it, political courage is hard to come by. The easiest thing to do, especially when you’re a first-term congressman — the easiest thing to do is make your decisions based on the polls. You put your fingers up to the wind, you check which way the political wind is blowing before you cast every vote. That’s how a lot of folks think they should do their jobs in Washington. And that’s not who Tom is.”Even though Tom lost his race, the result was narrower than most Democratic losses in that wave year for Republicans.

In the new letter, the former Obama aides point to Tom’s courage in supporting the Affordable Care Act, regardless of the political consequences, as evidence of his conviction to do what is right on behalf of his constituents. In 2009 and 2010, Tom held more marathon town halls than any member of Congress to explain and advocate for the Affordable Care Act directly to his constituents. Though Tom lost his election after supporting the Affordable Care Act, he recently wrote on Twitter, “It may have cost me my seat, but I’ve never regretted that vote. Not once.”

Read the full letter, with list of signers, below. A PDF version of the letter is attached.

Letter from Former Obama Officials Endorsing Tom Perriello for Virginia Governor:

Almost a decade ago, many of us joined Barack Obama’s insurgent campaign for President because we believed not only in his progressive agenda, but also in his ability to inspire and organize a movement for change across the country. Today, we are prouder than ever that we joined him and worked to move our country forward.

Throughout that journey, we met a number of incredible leaders who took up President Obama’s call to action and helped us deliver change for the American people. One who stood out for all of us was Tom Perriello. As former members of the Obama campaign and administration, we are proud to support Tom in his campaign for Governor of Virginia.

Tom embodies the pragmatic progressive values that President Obama fought so hard for over the past eight years. In Congress, Tom stood with President Obama — even though he represented a red district — to pass the Affordable Care Act, to support climate change legislation to protect our planet, and to help prevent a depression through the Recovery Act. Tom didn’t just take these votes; he defended them and ran on them despite the tea party wave that scared others into political expediency. While many Democrats ran away from the president in 2010, Tom didn’t. Tom’s willingness to stand with President Obama and our administration is a testament to his courage and conviction to do good above all else. It’s rare to find that in a politician. We all saw it in our former boss, President Obama, and we see it in Tom, too.

Some of us also got to work with Tom when he joined the State Department, beginning in 2014. In his first role leading the quadrennial diplomatic review, then later as the United States’ Special Envoy to the Great Lakes region of Africa, we saw Tom’s keen management ability and his deep commitment to justice and peace. If Tom represents Virginia with the same strength, passion and boldness as he did our country abroad, the Commonwealth will be in good hands.

The right leader at the right moment can do extraordinary good. We are at a fearful crossroads in this country. We were as disappointed as anyone to see Donald Trump, a man who represents everything we have stood against, be elected. We have also watched with horror as he has assaulted so many of the progressive gains we made. It will take strong and courageous leaders to fight back and put forth new ideas to lead our party and our people into the progressive future.

We hope Virginians and our fellow progressives will join us in supporting Tom Perriello.

Signed,

David Plouffe, former White House Senior Advisor and 2008 Obama Campaign Manager

Dan Pfeiffer, former White House Senior Advisor

Nancy-Ann DeParle, former White House Deputy Chief of Staff

Stephanie Cutter, former White House Deputy Senior Advisor and Obama 2012 Deputy Campaign Manager

Patrick Gaspard, former White House Director of Political Affairs and U.S. Ambassador to South Africa

Cecilia Muñoz, former Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council

Jennifer Palmieri, former White House Communications Director

Julianna Smoot, former White House Social Secretary and Obama 2012 Deputy Campaign Manager

Amy Rosenbaum, former White House Director of Legislative Affairs

Tina Tchen, former Chief of Staff to First Lady Michelle Obama and Executive Director of the White House Council on Women and Girls

Jon Carson, former Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement

Joshua DuBois, former Executive Director of White House Office of Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships

Robert Malley, former White House Special ISIS Advisor

Sarah Hurwitz, former Head Speechwriter for First Lady Michelle Obama

Buffy Wicks, former Deputy Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement

Tara McGuinness, former White House Senior Communications Advisor

Nathaniel Lubin, former White House Director of Digital Strategy

Macon Phillips, former White House Director of Digital Strategy

Andrea Purse, former White House Director of Broadcast Media

Jim Papa, former Special Assistant to the President for Legislative Affairs

Kyle Lierman, former White House Senior Associate Director of Public Engagement and Senior Policy Advisor

Lise Clavel, former Special Assistant to the President and Director of Public Engagement for Vice President Biden

Teddy Goff, former Obama 2012 Digital Director

Larry Grisolano, former Obama 2012 Director of Paid Media

Chauncey McLean, former Obama 2012 Director of Media Tracking

Christina Reynolds, former White House Director of Media Affairs and Obama 2008 Director of Rapid Response

Stephanie Valencia, former Principal Deputy Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement

Gautam Raghavan, former White House Public Engagement Advisor

Kareem Dale, former Associate Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement

Gary Lee, former Director of Planning for the White House Office of Political Strategy and Outreach

  • Fightin Fifth

    Nothing says populism like having one of your top endorsers get fined for illegal lobbying on behalf of Uber http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/2017/02/16/chicago-fines-former-uber-executive-david-plouffe-90k-illegal-lobbying/98013058/

  • Julie Hensley

    Seriously?? They are endorsing a pro-lifer? That doesn’t impress me in regards to Periello, it just causes me to be totally disgusted with these Obama staffers. THEY should ALL be ashamed. Is Trump moving the entire country into whacko land?

    • Tom Perriello has explained his mistaken Stupak vote many times, also how he’s been strongly pro-CHOICE his entire adult life. This is a ridiculous line of attack.

      • Julie Hensley

        Really? A ridiculous line of attack? So you will then concede that after being ‘strongly pro-choice his entire life’ when it came time to stand by the conviction that conviction failed him because of his NEWLY created explanation about how he’d promised his constituents? Really? That promise he made to his electorate? Tell me, did he run as a Republican? Exactly what constituency would have demanded that? At the minimum he needs to have the decency to own it. As for it being ‘ridiculous’ the worst thing anyone can say about Northam is that he supported Bush in 2004? So exactly why should we forgive Perriello for his screw up in 2010 while holding an action from 2004 against Northam? The only thing ridiculous here is the suggestion that Perriello shouldn’t be held accountable for his VOTES which impacted millions of women but Northam should be held accountable for his opinions! If you want to tell me that Northam’s endorsement won that election for Bush then I can see your ire. But to suggest that we not hold a politician responsible for his official actions is preposterous.

        • Julie Hensley

          oh… and call it as ridiculous as you want. I know many strong Dems who are leaving Perriello in droves because of this. Deal with it.

          • I’m neutral in this race, see both Tom and Ralph as strong Dems and will be happy to support either in the general election against “Enron Ed” Gillespie. I hope you can say the same.

        • Anonymous Is A Woman

          Julie, Tom is not anti abortion. You are completely right about the Stupak amemdment, and I agree that the Stupak vote was terrible, and I opposed it at the time. I have been pro choice almost all of my 63 years of life (since I was old enough to understand what abortion is and why access to it is so important to women).

          But the vote Tom took, on the Stupak Amendment, was about federal funding for abortion, something that is prohibited anyway by the Hyde Amendment. No federal funds can go to abortion anyway, except in the case of danger to the mother’s health or life, rape, or incest, so it was largely a cosmetic gesture to placate conservatives. We can argue all day about the message it sent, but the truth is it did not change the federal funding anyway. Still, I am so glad it died in the Senate.

          Tom did not vote to end a woman’s right or access to abortion (since federal funds can’t be used for them anyway). He voted on a funding issue because he was trying to save the overall Obamacare bill. I agree absolutely that it was a bad vote. But it was not made out of opposition to abortion. It was made to save a bill that was having great difficulty getting passed.

        • Anonymous Is A Woman

          No Julie, the worst thing Northam actually did was voting against workers comp for shipyard workers in 2009. How does a doctor even do that?

          The next worst thing was voting for Bush in 2000, against Al Gore. That one is as deeply personal to me as it gets. My husband has known Gore since the 1970s, when he first ran for Congress.

          Gore was considered the moderate and centrist in 2000. He was challenged on the left by Bill Bradley, former New Jersey governor, in the primary and by Ralph Nader in the general.

          In order to reject him for Bush, Northam had to be much more than a moderate or a centrist. He had to be a Blue Dog conservadem. Then, to double down on that after the Iraq invasion to vote for Bush in 2004, meant he also remained a conservadem. That is reinforced for me by the shipyard workers comp bill and the fact that the Virginia GOP tried to get Northam to change parties in order to flip the Virginia Senate to their control in 2009. It was only a premature tweet from a young Republican senator, Jeffrey Frederick, that ended that scheme.

          So this myth that somehow Ralph Northam has been a consistent progressive warrior is just not true. And it doesn’t need to be.

          The truth is, Ralph Northam has evolved over the years, and I would support him based on who has become now in a general election or even in a primary if Perriello had not gotten into the race. I can deal with my reasons for supporting Perriello elsewhere because this reply is already overly long. But it is not because I dislike or oppose Northam. It’s for the positive reason that I support Perriello more at this time.

          BTW, I truly believe that evolving and changing is not a badge of shame. It is a sign of intellectual and personal growth. That is why I would prefer to focus on where both candidates stand now.

        • Julia Hebner

          You are wrong on Perriello’s position.

      • stuckinthewoods

        downvoted. She isn’t ridiculous to countenance Perriello’s actual past vote. Votes count, later apologies not so much.

        • It is absolutely ridiculous to: a) call Tom Perriello, with a 100% NARAL rating, a “pro lifer”; b) say that the Obama staffers “should ALL be ashamed” for endorsing Perriello.

          • stuckinthewoods

            100% NARAL rating in 2010, but 50% in 2009. Your smug reply to Julie seems to discount her memory of Stupak, just as I won’t forget Perriello’s “we need more God and less government in our marriages” quote on marriage equality, his “less concerned about Adam and Steve”, his 71% HRC rating, or his A from NRA. I’m yellow dog but I’ll never vote for this weasel.

          • Anonymous Is A Woman

            Then I take it you also won’t vote Northam, who had a B rating from NARAL or Mark Warner with his “gentleman’s C” rating from them either. Warner’s rating went down btw from his higher ratings in the 90s, when he had a “Sportsmen for Warner” group.

            Few pols challenged the NRA in Virginia until recently.

        • Anonymous Is A Woman

          Yes votes count. So, Ralph Northam, in 2009, voted against workers comp for shipyard workers. That should count too, stuckinthewoods. Or is worker health not important?

          BTW, he did not apologize until he needed union endorsements in 2013.

    • Julia Hebner

      He’s a Catholic who has vowed to enforce the laws, including the right to abortion.

  • Interesting, the following ten former Bernie Sanders delegates from Virginia have endorsed Tom Perriello…

    Shaun Brown, Bernie Sanders National Delegate, CD 2
    Kimberly Hopkins, Bernie Sanders National Delegate, CD 5
    Alex Hulvey, Bernie Sanders National Delegate, CD 6
    William Kesling, Bernie Sanders National Delegate, CD 3
    Jennifer Leister, Bernie Sanders National Delegate, CD 2
    Jason Rylander, Bernie Sanders National Delegate, At Large
    Michael Sandler, Bernie Sanders National Delegate, CD 10
    Yasmine Taeb, Democratic National Committee Member
    Monica Thomas, Bernie Sanders National Delegate, CD 6
    Boyd Walker, Bernie Sanders National Delegate, CD 8