From the President to the Press Briefing: Exploring the Role of the Presidential Press Secretary


As presidential administrations transition, so do the roles and responsibilities of presidential press secretaries. Former presidential press secretaries Ari Fleischer, press secretary for President George W. Bush, and Mike McCurry, who served under President Clinton, shared their insider perspectives about serving in this key communication role. In what ways does the role change with each administration, and how does it remain the same? How have relationships with the press evolved over time? Has the role of presidential press secretary secretary changed in response to the digitized media landscape? Fleischer and McCurry shared their thoughts on these and more during their visit to the Manship School.


Ari Fleischer

Ari Fleischer
Former Press Secretary, President George W. Bush Administration

Ari Fleischer serves as a contributor for both FOX News Channel (FNC) and FOX Business Network (FBN). He is currently the president of Ari Fleischer Communications and Ari Fleischer Sports Communication. 

In his role with FOX, Fleischer offers political analysis across FNC and FBN daytime and primetime programming.

Prior to joining FNC, Fleischer served as the White House press secretary to former President George W. Bush. During his time as press secretary, Fleischer was the primary spokesperson during the presidential recount, September 11th, two wars and an anthrax attack. Before joining Bush's campaign for president, Fleischer was the national spokesman for Elizabeth Dole's presidential campaign during the 2000 election primary season. 

Fleischer is the author of the New York Times bestseller, "Taking Heat: The President, the Press and My Years in the White House." He attended Middlebury College in Vermont.


Mike McCurry

Mike McCurry
Former Press Secretary, President Bill Clinton Administration

Mike McCurry is of counsel at Public Strategies Washington, Inc., where he provides counsel on communications strategies and management to corporate and non-profit clients. He is also a Distinguished Professor and Director of the Center for Public Theology at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C., concentrating on the intersections of faith, politics and public affairs. 

McCurry is a veteran political strategist and spokesperson with four decades of experience in the nation's capital. McCurry served in the White House as press secretary to President Bill Clinton. He also served as spokesman for the U.S. Department of State and director of communications for the Democratic National Committee. 

McCurry began his career on the staff of the United States Senate, working as press secretary to the Senate Committee on Labor and Human Resources and to the committee's chairman, Senator Harrison A. Williams, Jr. He also served as press secretary to Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan. 

McCurry received his Bachelor of Arts from Princeton University in 1976, a Master of Arts in Liberal Studies from Georgetown University in 1985, and a Master of Arts from Wesley Theological Seminary in 2013.