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Anita Dunn meets with Senate Democrats on Capitol Hill last month. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Anita Dunn, one of President Biden's closest advisers during the campaign and as he built his administration, will depart the White House after today but remain a top confidant.

Why it matters: Dunn is one of the small handful of aides in the Oval Office who preps Biden before any major appearance. She helped place women in senior roles throughout the West Wing.

What they're saying: White House communications director Kate Bedingfield told me: "Anita is a backbone of Team Biden and her leadership was critical not just to the campaign but to our first 200 days in the White House."

  • "She's someone all of us turn to as a sounding board and for guidance — and although she may wish we’d leave her in peace, that definitely won’t change!"

The big picture: Dunn, whose title is senior adviser, had said from the beginning that she was only coming into the West Wing for a few months. She now returns to SKDK, the powerful Washington firm she helped found.

  • After a disappointing early start for Biden in his race for the 2020 Democratic nomination, Dunn was elevated and helped map a tough win in a crowded field.

Dunn was a senior campaign adviser for President Obama and his White House communications director, making her the rare top aide to two different winning presidents.

  • She has long been one of the best-known operatives in Democratic politics, and played senior roles for Sens. Tom Daschle, Bill Bradley and Evan Bayh.

Hilary Rosen, SKDK's vice chair, told me: "Anita doesn't only give you lofty thematics. She's also very concrete about what needs to be done. She's therefore very comforting as a strategist, because she has certainty."

  • A New York Times article last month said many in the White House "view her departure as a brief moment to breathe before she starts to plan the president’s re-election, which so far he has indicated he intends to wage."
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Go deeper

Oct 19, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Democrats brace for staredown over paid family medical leave

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Senior House Democrats are braced for battle with the Senate over whether paid family medical leave — a key priority for progressives — will be included in President Biden’s final budget reconciliation bill, lawmakers and aides tell Axios.

Why it matters: Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) has indicated he wants to cut the program to reduce the bill's price tag. “Paid family and medical leave must be in the final package,” Rep. Richard Neal (D-Mass.), chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, told Axios on Monday.

California governor declares drought emergency for entire state

California Gov. Gavin Newsom speakinng to reporters in Los Angeles in September. Photo: Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) extended a drought emergency declaration to cover the entire state on Tuesday.

Why it matters: "California is experiencing its worst drought since the late 1800s, as measured by both lack of precipitation and high temperatures," per a statement from the governor's office. This past August was the driest and hottest one on record, "and the water year that ended last month was the second driest on record," the statement added.

Updated 2 hours ago - World

Reports: Brazil leader to be accused of crimes against humanity over COVID

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro. Photo: Andressa Anholete/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A Brazilian Senate panel will recommend President Jair Bolsonaro be charged with "crimes against humanity," alleging his COVID-19 pandemic response led to hundreds of thousands of deaths, per the New York Times and the Washington Post.

The latest: The lawmakers initially said Bolsonaro should be charged with mass homicide and genocide, but lawmakers updated the report to replace these recommendations with the new charge, its lead author, Sen. Renan Calheiros, told the NYT.