Biden Adviser Speaks to Disgraced Halperin for Book

Anita Dunn one of more than 75 Democratic strategists to speak with Halperin

WASHINGTON - MAY 01: Interim White House Communications Director Anita Dunn (C) talks with White House Senior Advisor David Axelrod before the start of a swearing-in ceremony in the East Room of the White House in 2009. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
August 19, 2019

Anita Dunn, an adviser to Joe Biden's campaign and former Barack Obama flack, is among the dozens of Democratic strategists who spoke to disgraced journalist Mark Halperin for his new book.

Dunn is managing director of the powerful liberal firm SKDKnickerbocker, which has done work with the "Time's Up" anti-sexual harassment movement. Halperin was fired as an MSNBC and NBC News analyst, fired from Showtime, and lost a book deal in 2017 after women publicly accused him of sexual harassment, sexual assault, violence, and intimidation during his time at ABC News.

Nevertheless, Dunn, who also served as the Obama White House acting communications director in 2009, spoke with Halperin for his new book How To Beat Trump, published by Regan Arts.

"Anita cares about beating Donald Trump, that is the only reason she participated," an SKDKnickerbocker spokesperson told CNN, which initially broke the story on Halperin's sexual misconduct.

Politico Playbook reported more than 75 Democratic strategists and politicians have spoken to Halperin, including Obama alumni David Axelrod, Kathleen Sebelius, and Ben LaBolt. Halperin also spoke to former Michigan governor Jennifer Granholm (D.), consultant James Carville, and former Democratic National Committee chairwoman Donna Brazile.

The news prompted fierce criticism from Halperin's accusers, who say he has not personally apologized for his conduct. Halperin admitted some fault when the news broke in 2017 but refused to admit some of the more severe allegations, which included throwing a woman against a window, masturbating in front of a female colleague, and pressing an erection against a woman in his office.

Judith Regan, the head of Regan Arts, released a statement saying she believed in the "power of forgiveness."

"I do not in any way, shape, or form condone any harm done by one human being to another. I have also lived long enough to believe in the power of forgiveness, second chances, and offering a human being a path to redemption. HOW TO BEAT TRUMP is an important, thoughtful book, and I hope everyone has a chance to read it," she said.

Axelrod expressed regret on Twitter for participating in the project.

Morning Joe hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski have attempted to help him rehabilitate his career, alarming their 30 Rock colleagues, according to the Daily Beast. Brzezinski apologized in 2017 after appearing to scold Halperin's accusers for refusing to meet with him at her bequest.

Before his career fell apart, Halperin became known for his books Game Change and Double Down on the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections. He drew criticism for his punditry that focused on the "horse race" rather than deeper issues, such as his oft-derided "report cards" for debates.