Dana Perino on Developing Her Own Voice

The Strategerist


After spending seven years in the Bush administration rising to press secretary Dana Perino had become comfortable speaking speaking on behalf of others including the forty third president but she transitioned into roles on Fox News after the White House Dana develop her own voice who cared what I thought I could tell you what President Bush thought and why he thought that are how we got to that decision and I was very comfortable in that role on the first episode of Season Season Two of the strategic wrist Dana Talks about how she always remembers to focus on the good news how she deals with social media trolls and how her career in country music is progressing. I'm Andrew Kaufman and this strategic presented by the George Bush Institute what happens when you cross the forty third president late night sketch comedy and compelling conversation. The strategic has a podcast born from the word strategically which was coined by the now and embraced by the George Bush administration station we highlight the Americans feared of leadership and compassion through thought provoking conversations and we're reminded that the most effective leaders are the ones who laughed. We're joined for today's episode by Dana Perino former White House press secretary and now Fox News Co host the five host of the daily briefing Dana Perino podcast co host of I'll tell you what she's a bestselling author so you're pretty busy. Thank you for taking the the time to do this. This honored to be here. I I love coming here to the Bush Center. It's whenever you step in that front door. It's like wow this place is beautiful. Thank you for saying that and doing such great work thank Q. and our co host is Hannah Avni your friend and VP of external affairs. She's back again Hannah. Thank you for doing it again. Thank you for having me again Andrew so Dana you so you recently you're now we're recording artist as well. Gaza May dierks dirks a Dirks Bentley superfan right. I yeah superfan Fan. Also I get to call him a friend now to happens if you stock long enough so. Do you think he's going to invite you to be on a song the backup side when you have a number one song in the world. It's kind of like you. I don't need to really do it again. I don't think but it's pretty funny when I worked at the White House. Well let me go way back when I I was in college and I thought I wanted to go into media back then if you wanted to get into TV you had to start in radio and I didn't want to have to do my radio experience after right graduated so I got a job part time job as a country music. Dj working overnight and Pueblo Colorado and I ah I didn't really I had grown up in the West but I had really listen to country music when I was a teenager I didn't really do that so I was completely out of it I I I introduced the first night a song by Tracy Lawrence and I said and here she is with their new Song Tracy Lawrence and then of course raises Lawrence's a man uh-huh tricky. I we have to do so fast forward and during the years at the White House. I don't think I listen to any music back at all. I didn't even have an IPOD when we left. That was the technology at the time I had nothing I listen to. NPR or whatever else was happening rush limbaugh or something so Kakitumba on the news and so when I left the White House or when we all left the White House I got an ipod I guess it was and I used to travel back and forth to to New York a lot and I just started downloading country music and Dirk Bentley Song Come. A little closer was out at the time China so that's how we became a fan. Would you like to sing a little bit of but I do have the worst voice but the other thing you're talking about is I don't I'm blessed with having lots of ideas and not a lot of time to execute however so in two thousand sixteen the five went on a bus trip to go conventions. RNC Indian say and at one point in the back of the bus Greg Gut failed and I were sitting there and he was making me laugh so hard because he was just making up nonsense country songs about the five about Fox News about everything and he just had me giggling so much and I said we should should go to Nashville and record a song about the five and record it with a real recording artists and then release it for charity so three years later it came true. We have a wonderful executive producer of the five called Megan Albano. She figured it out we teamed up John Rich from big and rich who is a wonderful person big fan of forty three's as well and we went to Nashville and in one take he's saying the song that we sang the backup part. It's called Oh shut up about politics and it's not about shutting any particular person up. It was just about how politics has entered into everything sports music music theater technology. Everything's just too much and so we have a song called shut up about politics. We released it and within two hours it was number one on the country charts and then and that whole weekend it was number one in the world bigger than Lady Gaga Justin Bieber it was astounding. It's amazing it was amazing and all the proceeds go to folds of honor so we're pretty proud of it. Ninety nine cents you can download it on full. Honor does great work. We've done incredible work. We're familiar with there were pretty well and they're just such great such a great organization. That was pretty fun fun. I have a question for you off of that. Though I mean you're right politics is in absolutely everything you cannot get away from it and we talk about that a lot too. I mean even when you're going through Instagram instagram stories. It's just permeates every bit of it. It's in your life obviously multiple times a day. How do you get away from politics and focus on the thing? I feel a little a lot better than I did even from a few years ago because I've really embodied this idea that politics is what I do. It is not who I am and I have carved off my weekends and my evenings when I'm not working but but I don't go to dinner to talk about politics with people unless I agree with them now. That's GonNa sound like Oh that's not very fair and balanced view but I argue all day long and so in my personal life I pretty much. Don't I have a rule that I wrote about in the in the Jasper book which is no politics at the dog park. You're that's a safe place for me and if and even people that WanNa talk to me about politics at the Dog Park Mike Sorry I don't talk politics at the dog park. I have a policy and then laugh about it and they move on and I also carry a lot less about social media than I did. In Two thousand sixteen. I was really attacked by the Russians. Even though I didn't know as Russians at the time I remember actually coming here to the Bush Center right before the two thousand sixteen election. I can't remember what I was doing and AH chance to see President Bush and he's how you doing and I told him I had the worst professional summer of my life you know being attack and I was really kind of in the fetal position under my desk and even like my husband would say how can I help you. There's there's nothing you can do and it gave me a big appreciation for what parents are going through when their children are consumed assumed with their phone because you don't know what's being said and it's so demoralizing I was a grown woman. I've been the White House press secretary. How could this affect me so much and and I remember President Bush saying? Why didn't you call me like a really imagine if I had called President Bush and said Sir people are being really mean to me on twitter he would have said get off twitter on it solved this one's easy and actually it is easy so once you step away from from it or somebody gave me a tip to only have mentioned from people that you follow and Eric Schmidt of Google actually pulled me aside at one point in two thousand seventeen as I was explaining what it was like to be one of the people that was targeted by these Russian boots but I didn't know they were rushing at the time I just said it's overwhelming and he pulled me aside Dana? These are not real people and you explain to me how the whole system worked in Saint Petersburg and I don't know that just gave me an ability to say it doesn't matter. It just doesn't matter no so I it's weird to say that as much as politics permeating everything for me. It's probably less a part of my life than in the previous elections that I've covered for Fox. Was it similar to how you regrouped. After you left the White House taking a breath stepping away from it no not really I mean I remember the day that we'd left Andrews Air Force Base and Peter and I left to go on the trip to Africa. I leaned my head back against is the seat and I said nothing I do for the rest of my life will ever be that important or that hard and it's really true when I make a comment now. I'm not gotTA START A war. I also have a great appreciation for what public servants go through and I want to support deport them. No matter what party they're from if you're willing to put your self out there and run for office and try to do the right thing I try to be supportive. Okay talk to us about mercyships touch. You talked about a little bit when you left the West so interesting about mercy ships. There's actually a Bush connection there too okay so obviously President Bush and Mrs Bush were amazing leaders. When it came to Africa I I got to go to Africa with them? In February of two thousand eight and in typical forty-three fashion we did five countries in seven days. I got my first migraine. I couldn't even go to the Kigali event because I had to stay on the plane and two liters of fluid into my arm and so I didn't get to go to the and and I've been sad about not making it to Rwanda ever since given the statistics about pep far so many times at the podium that I thought I understood Africa and then I was just totally blown away when I went there and I came back and I said Peter we need to go for six months after the White House and he said how about six weeks so we did six weeks compromise and yeah so we did a pet farsight that's on in Fishhook South Africa and Peter and I just had this confusing time and that did help us reset our priorities and our hearts and to reconnect as a couple as well because we're so blessed here in America and you can get caught up in what about me. What am I gonNa do to the White House and just being able to have a bigger world view? After I left was great great fast forward mercy ships asked me through my speakers bureau if I would come to Dallas and moderate a conversation between the president and Mrs Bush in front of their dinner group so I said well sure that sounds great so peter and I were coming down here now prior to that I had join the one campaigns women advisory board and I had gone to several countries with them. I had also been on the Broadcasting Board of Governors under President Obama and I'd gone to Africa on behalf of of that organization as well trying to increase the amount of content of for women in particular and Africa because we found that men will definitely listen to the radio for news in sports but women will listen if it's about health and their kids so anyway it's just little bit of an effort to do that so at the dinner right before the Q. One eight with the president and Mrs Bush. I'm sitting there and somebody says well. Why did you get interested in Africa so I'm telling him than soul story that I'm telling you and then I I said just a few months ago I got to go to Sierra Leone and I went to this place called the Aberdeen Clinic and it was started by Scottish heiress us and it's so amazing they were doing fistula surgeries there and the day I was there? They were teaching the women there how to count to ten and the lady next to me said Oh she's not a Scottish heiress. Her name is Ann Gloag and she's sitting right behind you. This is a self made businesswoman in Scotland who was a burn unit nurse for twenty years but then she and her brothers started a bussing service in the UK when Margaret Thatcher deregulated the transportation sector and they became very successful and as the company expanded she took Africa and and when she got there she said this will never do so she started doing all of this philanthropy there and that's how I ended up talking to her and I said to Peter we have to go see mercy mercy ships for ourselves so that's how we got involved and it's a surgical hospital ship they do the West Coast of Africa that night they were kicking off a capital campaign for a brand new ship because they I usually retrofit and old ship and

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