One of America’s best-known conservative analysts once was Dana from Denver.
Dana Perino today is a familiar face on Fox News, greeting its morning audience each weekday as co-anchor of “America’s Newsroom” and appearing again mid- to late afternoon as co-host of “The Five.”
Online, she’s the name and face behind “Dana Perino’s Book Club” on the Fox Nation streaming subscription service. You might also remember her from her previous gig, anchor of “The Daily Briefing with Dana Perino.”
Born in Wyoming, her family moved to Denver when she was 2. Back in the day, she was a student at Ponderosa High School in Parker.
Perino graduated from Colorado State University-Pueblo, did some public affairs reporting and then went to Washington to work for U.S. Rep. Scott McInnis of Colorado. After a couple of agency stops, she was hired in the White House communications office two weeks after Sept. 11, 2001, and rose up the ranks.
There, Perino came to the national consciousness as the first Republican woman to serve as a presidential press secretary, and only the second of all, for President George W. Bush. She took over the job in 2007, when a former Fox News host, Tony Snow, stepped down for chemotherapy a few months before he died from colon cancer.
She parlayed that into a fast-rising broadcast career at Fox News in 2009. Perino’s association with the network is bigger than any one show, so it seems, and she appears to be destined to be the face of the network someday.
In 2009, then-President Barack Obama nominated Perino to the Broadcasting Board of Governors, which oversees government-sponsored, nonmilitary international broadcasting, such as Radio Free Europe and Radio Free Asia.
When rioters stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, Perino was at the anchor’s desk for Fox News, and she has become the network’s sharpest debate analyst, breaking down the presidential and vice presidential debates last year as well as both conventions.
We posed some questions to the questioner.
Colorado Politics: Let’s get business out of the way. Tell me about your new projects.
Perino: I am releasing my third book on March 9, 2021, “Everything Will Be Okay — Life Lessons for Young Women (from a Former Young Woman).” It has all of my best mentoring advice in one place. And while it is geared to women, I’ve had great feedback that the advice is good for men, too. My husband says every man should read it so that they know how to support the women in their lives.
And I’ve just started co-anchoring “America’s Newsroom” with Bill Hemmer on weekdays from 7 to 9 a.m. MST. I am loving it. I am a morning person by nature so I jump out of bed ready to go to work. Bill is a wonderful, generous, incredibly smart and fun person to work with. It’s a dream job on top of other dream jobs I’ve held!
CP: What was the hardest or most interesting thing about evolving from front-line political figure to media figure, or is it the same thing in the era from Limbaugh to Trump?
Perino: Going from being someone else’s spokesperson to expressing my own opinions and thoughts was the toughest transition for me. It took a long time for me to get comfortable with it. Now as we approach our 10th anniversary of “The Five,” I think I’ve finally started to get the hang of it.
CP: Tell me the nicest thing you know about George W. Bush that most people don’t know.
Perino: President Bush is extraordinarily funny to me. His wit is super sharp, and he’s a great mimic.
CP: Speaking of Trump, now that it’s over and you’ve had time to reflect, what are your thoughts about his legacy, given your unique presidential perspective?
Perino: I learned from President Bush that a president’s legacy is impossible to determine in the present. He’d tell me, “Last year I read three books about George Washington — so if historians are still analyzing the first president, then the 43rd doesn’t have a lot to worry about.” Most contemporary analyses of presidents change over time; think of Abraham Lincoln who, at the time of his assassination, was a very unpopular president. And today? The most popular and revered. You just don’t know in the moment what it’ll be.
CP: Fox News is viewed as a cheerleader for Trump; the opinion hosts, anyway. Do you think the emperor’s clothes were analyzed enough on that network?
Perino: It is safe to say that there wasn’t any media outlet that didn’t relentlessly cover and analyze the Trump presidency, and since it was so consequential and, in many ways, tumultuous (which some people loved and others didn’t), that will continue for some time. And America, and time, marches on. We’ll keep covering it all (starting early on “America’s Newsroom”!).