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Best Public Information Officer

David Paulson

When Maryland Attorney General Douglas Gansler hired David Paulson as his communications director in June, he picked a seasoned partisan warrior to handle his agency’s message. It was a strange turn for the brass-tacks office, which essentially serves as the state’s law firm—even stranger than in 2009, when Paulson first left as Maryland Democratic Party (MDP) spokesman to become communications director for the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. He’d been the MDP’s spinmeister since the failed 2002 gubernatorial campaign of Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, trying hard to make Gov. Robert Ehrlich (R) look bad—and then became chief cheerleader as Martin O’Malley (D) successfully retook the governor’s mansion. His specialty is rhetorical battle, not straight-shooting conveyance of stripped-down facts. Surprisingly, though, he’s good at it, readily providing information the public’s entitled to know and providing no-nonsense statements about agency matters. We still don’t know if there’s a political rationale behind his PIO positions—such as a possible Gansler run for governor in 2014—but in the meantime, he’s a handy resource for accessing information.

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