Public Affairs in the White House with Public Relations Director Karen Hughes


In this exclusive interview, US President George W. Bush’s director of communications Karen Hughes speaks candidly about handling strategic communications messaging for POTUS, promoting American values during a war, and the challenges of publicizing unpopular US foreign policies abroad.

Her objective was to lead the development and implementation of a comprehensive public diplomacy plan.  Previously, Hughes was the director of communications while George Bush was governor of Texas, which is effectively the president’s public relations consultant. 

Public relations consultants who serve public officials and typically called public affairs consultants rather than public relations consultants. But they are the same thing. The only difference is public relations firms sell products, and public affairs firms sell policies. Later she was a counselor to President George W. Bush. 

Karen Hughes and Eric Schwartzman

Hughes moved back to Texas for two years before rejoining the Bush Administration to serve as a campaign PR consultant.

This podcast was recorded at the Public Relations Society of America’s International Conference in Philadelphia the week before Ms. Hughes resigned from the undersecretary position. 

Show Notes:

3:58 – Hughes on the challenges of working as a public relations consultant to promote American values abroad at this time of war.

5:48 – Hughes discusses spearheading public relations campaigns for unpopular US policies that are unlikely to change.

8:40 – Hughes on the most important part of strategic PR in public relations consulting.

10:33 – Hughes on the real value of public relations research to political campaigns.

12:06 – Hughes contemplates the Internet’s role in the 2008 Presidential Election.

13:46 – Hughes on the opportunity social media marketing presents to marketing and public relations consultants.

14:23 – Hughes on whether she plans to stay in public relations consulting and her future political aspirations.

15:13 – End

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