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BP hires Cheney spokeswoman to lead PR effort

By John Byrne
Tuesday, June 1, 2010 9:50 EDT
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As if the water wasn’t deep — or oily — enough around British Petroleum’s public relations, the company has hired a former spokeswoman for Vice President Dick Cheney to be its public face for the disaster.

Anne Womack Kolton, former head of public affairs at the Department of Energy and Cheney’s onetime campaign press secretary, will take the baton from BP this week.

While at Cheney’s side, Kolton defended the secrecy of the Vice President’s Energy task force, a group which held secretive meetings with energy company executives. When the General Accounting Office — the research arm of Congress — sued the Administraton for records relating to Cheney’s meetings, Kolton (then Womack) was at his side.

“We are ready to defend our principles in court,” she said. “This goes to the heart of the presidency and to the ability of the president and vice president to receive candid, discreet advice.”

A blogger at the liberal web site Daily Kos notes that BP was reportedly among one of the companies that Cheney met with.

In 2004, Womack Kolton also drew attention from the left after Cheney made comments suggesting a Democratic victory would precipitate a terrorist attack.

“Whoever is elected in November,” she said, “face[s] the prospect of another terrorist attack. The question is whether or not the right policies are in place to best protect our country. That‘s what the Vice President was saying.”

A Department of Energy press release notes that “Ms. Kolton joined the Bush administration in January 2001 as Assistant Press Secretary in the White House Press Office after serving on the Bush-Cheney 2000 campaign as Assistant Press Secretary to then Vice Presidential candidate Dick Cheney.”

“Before joining Bush-Cheney 2000,” the release continues, “Ms. Kolton was Washington Liaison for Texas Attorney General John Cornyn.”

Kolton also appeared in the news when asked for a response about Cheney’s apparent difference of opinion with President George W. Bush on the anti-gay marriage amendment.

“The vice president respects the president’s right to make that decision,” she said.

 
 
 
 
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