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

Presidential Press Secretaries event invitations

April 17, 2018 | 6 p.m.
Holliday Forum, LSU Journalism Building

As presidential administrations transition, so do the roles and responsibilities of presidential press secretaries. Join the former presidential press secretaries Ari Fleischer, press secretary for President George W. Bush, and Mike McCurry, who served under President Clinton, to gain an insider perspective 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 the presidential press secretary changed in response to the digitized media landscape? Fleischer and McCurry will answer these questions and more at the LSU Manship School of Mass Communication’s event on Tuesday, April 17, at 6 p.m. in the Journalism Building’s Holliday Forum. 

The Reilly Center would like to thank its premier sponsors, Cornerstone Government Affairs and Taylor Porter Louisiana Law Firm, for helping to make this event possible!

Registration is required. 

Register here!


Featuring Special Guests 
Ari Fleischer & Mike McCurry

Ari Fleischer, presidential press secretary for President George W. Bush

Ari Fleischer

Presidential Press Secretary, President George W. Bush

As former White House press secretary, Ari Fleischer was the primary spokesperson for President George W. Bush and delivered the daily White House briefings from 2001 to 2003. He previously served as the spokesperson for the Bush-Cheney presidential campaign. In his almost four years working for President Bush, he served as spokesperson during the historic presidential recount, September 11th, two wars, and the anthrax attack. His best-selling book, Taking Heat, details his years in the White House and reached #7 on The New York Times Best Sellers list. 

Prior to joining the Bush campaign, Fleischer was the national spokesperson and communications director for Elizabeth Dole's presidential campaign. He has also worked on Capitol Hill as a press secretary to three Congressmen and one U.S. Senator.

Fleischer is a native of Pound Ridge, New York and a 1982 graduate of Vermont's Middlebury College. Now president of his own firm, Ari Fleischer Communications Inc., he offers advice to clients in the corporate and sports worlds on how to handle the press. He is also a Fox News contributor.

He resides in Westchester County, New York, with his wife, Becki, and their two children.

Mike McCurry, presidential press secretary for President Bill Clinton

Mike McCurry

Presidential Press Secretary, President Bill Clinton

Mike McCurry is a Distinguished Professor of Public Theology at the Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, DC and a partner at Public Strategies Washington, Inc., where he provides counsel on communications strategies and management to corporate and non-profit clients.

McCurry is a veteran political strategist and spokesperson with nearly four decades of experience in the nation’s capital. McCurry served in the White House as press secretary to President Bill Clinton (1995-1998). He also served as spokesman for the U.S. Department of State (1993-1995) and director of communications for the Democratic National Committee (1988-1990). McCurry held a variety of leadership roles in national campaigns for the Democratic ticket from 1984 to 2004.

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. (1976-1981). He also served as press secretary to Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan (1981-1983).

McCurry serves on numerous boards or advisory councils including Share Our Strength, the Children’s Scholarship Fund, the White House Historical Association and the Executive Committee of the Global Health Initiative of the United Methodist Church. He is a member and former co-chairman of the Commission on Presidential Debates which sponsors the general election debates between candidates for President and Vice President of the United States.

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.

Student Interviewers

Kayla Swanson, student interviewer

Kayla Swanson

Senior, Public Relations

Kayla Swanson is a senior mass communication major at Louisiana State University, concentrating in public relations with a business minor. She is currently the public relations director for the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) at LSU and secretary for the Association of Black Communicators (ABC). She is also the creative production intern at Grow Haus, a marketing and branding company, which works with businesses who affect change and promote social justice in the New Orleans area. Her career goals include developing marketing strategies to give local businesses a strong community presence. She expects to graduate in December.

 Matt Houston, student interviewer

Matthew Houston

Senior, Broadcast Journalism

Matt Houston is an award-winning Mass Communication senior from Tyler, Texas, who plans to pursue a career in broadcast journalism after graduation. He's spent three years covering news and sports for Student Media and is an anchor and assignment editor for Tiger TV. He also covers the Louisiana State Legislature for the Manship School News Service, which is a university program that sends student-produced stories to major publications across the state.