In the News

Anita Dunn Comments on SOTU 2015

Posted January 21, 2015

“The White House has taken a new approach already, with a policy rollout run-up instead of coming out of the speech. I think that leads down the path to the impossible dream of most SOTU speechwriters — a shorter, more thematic speech, and that, given the innovations the White House continues to make in their communications shop, farther down the path toward the SOTU digital experience of the future! We’ve come a long way from presidents sending their speech up to Congress to be read by the clerk!”

Josh Dorner to help lead coalition effort around upcoming Affordable Care Act Supreme Court case

January 13, 2015 (WASHINGTON)—SKDKnickerbocker, the nation’s leading strategic communications and political consulting firm, today announced two new hires to its Strategic Communications practice: Josh Dorner and Sabrina Singh.

Josh Dorner joins the firm as a Vice President to help lead communications efforts on behalf of SKDK’s advocacy, non-profit and corporate clients. One of Josh’s first projects will be working with a coordinated effort to publicize the stakes involved in the Supreme Court’s decision in King v. Burwell, which, according to several reports, could endanger the health insurance coverage of between 8 and 10 million Americans and could result in dramatic increases in health insurance premiums for millions of others. He most recently served as the Communications Director to Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow and the Senate Agriculture Committee. Prior to working on Capitol Hill, Josh led communications and strategy for several national advocacy organizations, including the Center for American Progress and CAP Action, the Sierra Club, and the Clean Energy Works Campaign.

Sabrina Singh joins SKDK as a Senior Associate from the Democratic Governors Association (DGA) where she served as the Deputy Communications Director. Before the DGA, Singh was the Communications Director for Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky and Deputy Press Secretary at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

“We’re very excited to add Josh and Sabrina to our already world-class Strategic Communications team. Josh Dorner brings years of high-level communications experience and will be a tremendous asset to our efforts in communicating the stakes of the Supreme Court’s upcoming decision on the Affordable Care Act,” said SKDK Managing Director Hilary Rosen. “Sabrina Singh has valuable communications experience on both Capitol Hill and in campaigns across the country. She offers a unique skillset to our clients that will ensure they can successfully get out their message.”

For more information about SKDKnickerbocker or our team, visit our website, and connect with us on twitter, @SKDKnick.


Contact: Rob O’Donnell,, 301-275-9091




SKDKnickerbocker’s DC office is looking for a new digital intern. Interested and want to hear more? Here are the details:

  • Work with SKDK senior digital team to assess clients’ digital/social needs and opportunities for improvement and growth.
  • Write and edit digital/social media copy that demonstrates correct tone, subject-matter expertise, best practices and AP Style.
  • Live tweet events without error.
  • Create detailed social media competitive analysis memos.
  • Ability to publish social/digital media content, as well as track, monitor and analyze for effectiveness.
  • Make recommendations on goals, benchmarks and platform use for clients’.
  • Coordinate with designers and paid digital vendors to execute campaigns.
  • Make recommendations to grow and engage on existing social communities (Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, Reddit, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google+, Vine, etc.) as well as emerging platforms.


  • Meticulous attention to detail in writing and editing.
  • Creative under short deadlines.
  • Strong eye for visual presentation from via social posts, presentations and memos.
  • Ability to manage many different projects at once, from assignment to delivery.
  • General familiarity with platforms such as Sysomos Heartbeat/Map, Sprout Social, Compete, Topsy and Google Analytics.
  • General familiarity with paid digital advertising.
  • General familiarity with emerging platforms and trends.
  • Photoshop expertise a plus.

To apply please send your cover letter and resume to We appreciate your interest!


On Election Day, Stephen Krupin reflects on the challenge of writing both a victory speech and concession speech – and then anxiously waiting to find out which will be read. Stephen is a VP and Director of Executive Communications at SKDKnickerbocker.

Here’s an excerpt of “On Election Night, Pack an Umbrella”:

“2010’s midterms looked a lot like today’s. The country was in an anti-incumbent mood. Republicans were licking their chops as Democrats braced for big losses. So as I sat down to tackle the first speech, the context felt as important as the content…I closed my laptop and took a lap around the parking lot to clear my head and imagine the worst. After so little sleep and with so much on the line, it was hard to think about losing — let alone to put it in words. So I thought of the speech as an umbrella, convincing myself that if I didn’t write it, it would be certain we’d need it.

If carefully calibrating the tone of a victory speech is important for your next term, getting a concession speech right is critical for your legacy. Al Gore nailed it in 2000, exhibiting a grace that must have been painful to summon. Hillary Clinton’s “18 million cracks” honored her supporters’ accomplishment, the elusive nomination notwithstanding. Later that year, John McCain reminded the country of the election’s significance and in doing so reminded so many why they respected his decades of service. “Let there be no reason now for any American to fail to cherish their citizenship in this, the greatest nation on Earth,” he said.

But in the lowest moment of your career, such empathy isn’t always easy for candidates or their staff to conjure. When Richard Nixon lost his bid for governor in 1962, his self-pitying “you won’t have Nixon to kick around anymore” was more sour than statesmanlike, forgetting that elections are about voters more than candidates. In 2012, Mitt Romney didn’t bother to write a second speech, and it showed.

I tried to channel Gore’s and McCain’s humility — and their brevity. In just north of 300 words, the speech would acknowledge the work of Reid’s volunteers and the choice of Nevada’s voters.

I emailed the concession speech down the hall to my colleague Kristen, who sat next to the one campaign printer that could spit out speeches on the 5″ x 8″ cards Leader Reid liked. As she silently handed them to me, we shared a look that military aides must exchange when they hand off the nuclear football: Good to have it, but let’s hope for humanity’s sake we never have to use it.

Around 8 p.m. my phone buzzed. It was an email from my colleague Jon, telling me to come to the senator’s hotel suite and that I only need to bring “the good speech.” Leader Reid calmly scribbled and scrawled on the cards, adding here and subtracting there while taking congratulatory phone calls from everyone from Barack Obama to Barry Manilow.

As for the other speech: to this day Kristen is the only other person who’s ever seen it. Some things are better left unread. But I’m glad we packed that umbrella.”

P.S. Get out there and vote!