Meet the Producers- Mark Squier

October 31, 2007

On Monday, the DNCC announced the expansion of the team that will bring together the 2008 Democratic National Convention. Along with the staff that will consist of hundreds and the volunteer corp made up of thousands, the Executive Producers for the August 25-28, 2008 Convention are Ricky Kirshner and Mark Squier.

Click here to read the DNCC’s official announcement.

Yesterday, we profiled Ricky Kirshner.

Today, we focus on Mark Squier.

Mark has been a media consultant and a strategic advisor for Democratic candidates for 25 years. During that time, Mark has worked on some of the most high profile races around the U.S. Mark has produced ads for over 20 current and former U.S. Senators, Governors and Members of Congress including: Sens. Tom Harkin of Iowa, Daniel Akaka of Hawaii, Bob Graham of Florida and former Governors Ann Richardson Texas and Cecil Andrus of Idaho.

In addition to being one of the most respected consultants in Washington, DC, Mark co-founded the media consulting firm McMahon, Squier, Lapp & Associates (MSLA) in Washington, DC .

With all these qualifications to be the Executive Producer of the 2008 Democratic National Convention, we felt we needed to ask him some tough questions:

squier2Q: Take yourself back to age 5. Where were you likely to be found on a typical Saturday?
A: Eating pancakes – watching Redskins football – playing soccer.

Q: What one person had the greatest influence in setting you on this career path?
A: My Dad – A.K.A. Bob Squier – who is considered one of the founders of political consulting. He was a filmmaker first and came to work in politics in 1968 – electing many Senators, Governors, Congressmen, even working on President Clinton’s re-election in 1996. Out of college I went to work for him and it was awesome. He was very upbeat a lot of fun – and taught me everything.

One of my first memories of being interested in what my father did for a living was when he took me to see Face The Nation on CBS. I was 9 and Dad was working for Hubert Humphrey. I can still remember Vice President Humphrey’s distinctive voice. Boy that really dates me!

Q: When you’re cooking for the kids, what’s on the table?
A: Mac and Cheese – out of the box of course.

Q: What’s one thing every successful candidate has in common?
A: Confidence and comfort with themselves.

Q: Why should America tune in to the 2008 Democratic National Convention?
A: The 2008 convention is the beginning of the fall campaign and it will be an excellent chance to see what the Democratic Party stands for and what it plans to do to get our country back on track. And for people to learn how they can get involved and make a difference. There is too much gripping and not enough action – and that is a direct result of apathy – which I can’t stand. It’s easy to sit on the sidelines and complain – it’s much harder to roll up your sleeves and get involved.

Q: Mountains or monuments?
A: Easy – Mountains – I ski. And Colorado has the best.

Q: Do you ever get tired of red, white and blue?
A: No. If you aren’t a student of this country’s history – and really learn about what symbols like our flag and colors stand for – and the sacrifices that have been made and that are being made to protect and preserve our country – then you shouldn’t work in politics.

I’ve actually worked overseas politically – I’ve seen other systems up

Yes – we do have problems with our system – nothing is perfect.

But it is by far the best one on the planet.


Meet the Producers-Ricky Kirshner

October 30, 2007

Yesterday, the DNCC announced that Ricky Kirshner and Mark Squier will serve as Executive Producers for the Democratic National Convention in August.

Click here to read the DNCC’s official announcement .

Ricky Kirshner has produced some of the biggest events in TV history including the 2007 Super Bowl halftime show, the Tony awards, GQ Man of the Year awards for NBC, the Rose Parade and of course Ricky was the Executive Producer to every Democratic National Convention since 1996.

We asked Ricky some questions to get his take on some of the most pressing issues of the day. Click here for Mark’s Q&A.


Where did you grow up?
South Orange, NJ

Q: What was your first job?
A: Job?? Well, unpaid, I was a Page at the DNCC in 1976 in NYC. Then, an
intern at Good Morning America. First job out of college was as a Budget
Controller for ABC News 20/20

Q: You’re a busy New Yorker. What’s the best quick bite in Manhattan?
A: People that work with me would find this one pretty funny. I am very careful about what I eat and eat very plain food. So, I cant give you a great answer like some cart on a street corner or Papaya King. Its usually a turkey sandwich or a salad…sorry, boring answer. I’ll be at Jimmy Johns and Cheesecake Factory a lot in Denver.

Q: What drives you to get out of bed every morning?
A: My son usually jumps on me.

Q: What keeps you coming back to the Democratic Convention?
A: The excitement of doing an event this big and being watched by so many people. It’s what I love about what I do: live TV and live Events. The adrenaline rush of being on and hoping it all works. It is a function of a lot of preparation and working with a lot of great professionals.

Q: You’ve heard a lot of speeches over the years – presumably some better than others. In your opinion, how long is too long?
A: When the orchestra has to play you off, its too long. Elaine Stritch at the Tony Awards (she might still be talking) was too long.

Q: You’re normally a behind-the-scenes guy. If you were to star in a one-man show, what would it be called? And who would you ask to produce it?
A: My wife, Rina, would definitely produce it. She knows me better than
anyone, she understands my sense of humor and she knows what I’m really about. But, I must say, it would be pretty boring. When I’m not working I like to be home with my family. Usually wrestling with my son, or talking to my daughters. The soundtrack would be SPRINGSTEEN (told ya I was from Jersey).

The title of my one-man show: IF YOU SEE ME ON TV, SOMETHING WENT WRONG!!

I’m really a guy that likes to be behind the scenes.

DNCC giving back

October 25, 2007

With the Democratic National Convention coming to Denver in just 10 months, the staff here at the DNCC is in full swing giving back to the community. Back in the summer, the staff took a weekend day to help spread mulch around trees in City Park. In September, we took a group of kids from Colorado Uplift to Dick’s Sporting Goods Park just outside Denver for a soccer clinic with some players from Denver’s MLS team the Rapids.

This Wednesday, we headed over to the Edna Oliver Montessori Early Learning Center in Denver’s Five Points neighborhood. The DNCC staff read to the kids, played on the playground with them and a bunch of us cleaned up around the center’s grounds.

Check out our photos of the day’s events here.

Chuck Plunkett of the Denver Post has a blog post about community service event on the Post’s blog Politics West.

Members of the Democratic National Convention Committee continued a stated goal of giving back to the community on Thursday by volunteering to work with young students out cleaning up their school grounds.

The DNCC staffers joined the Edna Oliver Montessori Early Learning Center under stunning blue skies as part of the “DNCC Service Days” volunteerism effort.

Below you’ll find a video we made about the event

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Calling All Rocky Mountain Photographers

October 23, 2007

The Democratic National Convention Committee (DNCC) is launching a new effort to enlist citizen photo journalism as a means to bring more people into the 2008 Convention experience and help Convention visitors see the West through local eyes. As part of this effort, we’re looking for photos of people and places that represent the spirit of the Rocky Mountain West – photos we can feature on the DNCC’s official website,, and showcase during Convention week in Denver. Help us introduce delegates and other visitors to your community and the Rocky Mountain West!

Read the rest of this entry »

DNCC CEO featured in NY Times

October 22, 2007

This past Saturday, the New York Times featured DNCC CEO Leah Daughtry in a profile piece about her roles as a minister and leader within the Democratic Party. Before taking on her role with the Convention, Leah served most recently as Chief of Staff at the DNC, where she served as the driving force behind the DNC’s Faith in Action initiative.
The Times piece said of Leah’s leadership with Faith in Action:

The drive to reach religious Americans began after Election Day 2004, when Ms. Daughtry was so distraught over reports of a Republican landslide among “values voters” — a term commonly associated with conservative Christian voters — that she commissioned a poll on the subject. For roughly half of all voters, the poll found, religion is as much an influence on how they vote as any other factor.

Under Ms. Daughtry’s direction, the Democratic committee has hired its first religious outreach director. Its “Faith in Action” team now counts seven staff members, including those directing Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, and Muslim outreach…

Two and a half years on, Ms. Daughtry’s Faith in Action plan has shown signs of success. By Election Day 2006, Democratic polling found that Democrats had trimmed the Republican Party’s 30-point lead among conservative Christian voters to 10 points. Many Democratic candidates and officeholders now discuss their religion publicly.

Check out the entire the NY Times’ profile on Leah here:

Convention Conversations

October 18, 2007

The 2008 Democratic National Convention will be held in Denver, but in our minds, we have not only a host city but a host region as well here in the Rocky Mountain West. To back up that notion, the DNCC has pledged to conduct 10 community forums in Colorado and around the region in the lead up to the 2008 Convention. The first forum was in Denver and last night, Colorado Governor Bill Ritter and DNCC CEO Leah Daughtry met up in Pueblo, CO to discuss greater Colorado’s role in the Convention.

The audience turned out in force and was excited about the event. Attendees’ questions focused on how to become a delegate, volunteer opportunities, the greening of the Convention and how the broader region can participate in the Convention.

Gov and LeahGov and Leah 2