In 2007, when the late Tony Snow stepped down from his position as White House Press Secretary, President George W. Bush appointed then Deputy Press Secretary, Dana Perino, to the position. Perino accepted the job, becoming only the second woman to ever hold the position. For a year and a half, we watched her handle Helen Thomas and the White House Press Corps with dignity and confidence. Her intelligence, beauty, and youth captured the nation as she served the remainder of President Bush's term. Here is a look at the life of the woman beyond the White House briefing room:
Dana Marie Perino was born on May 9, 1972 in Wyoming. Her family moved to Denver when Perino was two years old and not long after that, Perino had already decided on a future in politics. According to an interview with The Rocky Mountain News, at the age of six, Perino told her parents, "I'm gonna work in the White House." At the age of eight, Perino and her father were having debates about the day's news stories at the dinner table. By high school, she had joined the debate team and while attending college at The University of Southern Colorado, she took a job as a radio disc jokey at a country music radio station.
After college, Perino moved to Illinois to work on her Master's degree and while there, worked as a television news reporter for a year but decided journalism wasn't what exactly she wanted to do. "I think if I’d been good at that, I would have recognized it and stuck with journalism. But really, I wasn’t very good at it." Perino has said of reporting. Eventually she would make the move to Washington D.C. to work as an assistant for Republcan Congressman Scott McInnis. After several months of answering McInnis' constituent complaints, she was offered a job as press secretary for Congressman Dan Schaeffer.
Eventually, Perino would leave Washington to get married and spend several years away from our nation's capitol. She met her husband, Steve McMahon, in 1997 and moved to London where McMahon worked as a businessman. The couple soon moved to San Diego and Perino worked for a public relations firm but according to friends, she wasn't happy there. Which is probably why Perino returned to DC shortly after September 11, 2001. She took a job as communications director for the White House's Council on Environmental Quality and eventually joined the White House Press Staff in 2005.
2006 was a busy year for Perino. Not only did President Bush name her Deputy Press Secretary, but Perino became a step-grandmother when her step-daughter gave birth to twins. In 2007, she filled in for then Press Secretary, Tony Snow, as he left to undergo cancer treatments and in August, 2007, when Snow resigned for good, the President appointed Perino to the position saying,
"What I look for in somebody like Dana is somebody to walk in that Oval Office and give me sound judgment and good advice, and I've found that over the course of the time I've known her she's capable of doing that."
Perino is known for staying on message and being a staunch supporter of President Bush. In the now infamous incident involving an Iraqi journalist throwing a shoe at the President, Perino was injured when a microphone stand fell into her eye. When asked about the incident, Perino joked, "Sure I would take a shoe for the President." Currently, she can be seen on cable news stations including Fox News and C-Span providing political commentary on current events.