Politics

Former Bush Aides to Help House GOP Sell Message

Former Bush aides will give a crash course on message building to fellow Republicans Friday, an event that some Democrats are describing as a "sequel to a very bad movie."

The session to be held for House Republican press secretaries will be hosted by former counselor to President George W. Bush Ed Gillespie, former Bush Press Secretary Dana Perino and former Deputy Press Secretary Tony Fratto.

"The purpose of the event," said former Bush speechwriter March Thiessen "is to train the next generation how to emerge from the wilderness, win the White House and keep it for eight years." 

The move comes as Republicans are trying to rebound and sharpen their message after losing control of the White House, Senate and House of Representatives since 2004. It follows a Saturday town hall meeting in Northern Virginia designed by the newly formed Republican group the National Council for a New America, which aims to engage the American public in policy discussion on the economy, health care, energy and national security.

"The press secretary workshop is one more tool in our belt that we are using to ensure press secretaries continue to get their members the most coverage possible, which in turn drives the Republican message across the country," said Matt Lloyd, Communications Director for the House Republican Conference.

But at least one Democratic aide likened the meeting to housewives gone wild.

"House Republicans are better off staying home, watching soaps and coming up with new ideas for their out-of-touch party," said Doug Thornell, spokesman for Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md.

Perino, who now works at global public relations firm Burson-Marsteller, told FOX News that Thornell's comments were "petty and uninformed." 

"I know more about communications today than he'll ever forget and if I can use my experience to help others, I'll be glad to do it," Perino said.

Perino said she believes she and her former colleagues can help turn things around for her party, which appears to be lacking in both message and messenger. Perino noted that Gillespie has a proven track record.

"Ed Gillespie helped get the House back in 1994. The Democrats should not underestimate him," she said.

Mike Emanuel currently serves as chief congressional correspondent for FOX News Channel (FNC). He joined FNC in 1997 as a Los Angeles-based correspondent.