Georgetown alum Daniel Pfeiffer (COL ’98) will be bringing the some of the Hilltop with him to the White House this month as he begins his new job: deputy White House Communications Director.

President-elect Barack Obama selected Pfeiffer in November to serve in his administration.

At only 33 years old, Pfeiffer has been a rising star in Democratic politics since his graduation from Georgetown in 1998. In 2000, he worked as a spokesman for former Vice President Al Gore’s presidential campaign, before becoming an adviser for South Dakota Senator Tim Johnson’s successful 2002 re-election bid. In 2006, Pfeiffer married Sarah Feinberg, a longtime aide to former Illinois Congressman and incoming White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel.

Before joining Obama’s team, Pfeiffer served as a communications director for Senator Evan Bayh (D-IN) who had considered a presidential run, but opted against it in 2006.

“Senator Bayh decided not to run right about the time Obama was putting together his campaign,” Pfeiffer said. “A lot of Obama’s staff worked for Senator Majority Leader Tom Daschle, who I also worked for a few years ago, so in a lot of ways it was a case of being in the right place at the right time.”

In July 2007 he was named communications director for the 2008 Obama presidential campaign after working as a traveling press secretary during the primary elections.

When he joined the campaign, Pfeiffer said, he had his doubts about whether the Illinois senator’s grassroots campaign could defeat Senator Hilary Clinton (D-NY).

“When I started on the very first day of the campaign, I am sure I never fully comprehended how long our odds were, but I did know that in many ways this whole thing was a lark,” he said.

Despite his concerns, Pfeiffer embraced Obama’s message of change.

“I have spent a lot of time in politics and in Washington since leaving college and like a lot of people I had a sense that we needed a sharp break from the way we had been doing things,” he said. “There was no question that Barack Obama was the best candidate to bring fundamental change to Washington.”

Yet, he still holds fond memories of his time at Georgetown.

“I loved my time at Georgetown, I had a lot of fun, made friends for life, and learned a lot … I also happened to have been there at the same time as Allen Iverson, so for the first couple of years we had a great basketball team,” Pfeiffer said.

While Pfeiffer said that he followed national politics before arriving on the Hilltop, he never expected to pursue it as a career until college. He credits his time at Georgetown for driving him towards his chosen profession.

“Professor [Stephen] Wayne’s class on the American Presidency, which I took in the middle of the 1996 election, fueled a lot of my interest in presidential politics,” he recalls. “Looking back on it, there was a really good balance between what I was learning in my classes and what I was learning just by being away from home with new people in a new place.”

Georgetown imparted more on Pfeiffer than just a passion for national politics, he said. Pfeiffer recalled Georgetown’s Jesuit focus on service to others and social justice, but said that, right now, the country needs more than that.

“In addition to all the things that need fixing in this country like health care, the economy and energy, people need to regain the sense of hope that things can get better and the sense of security that there is someone in the White House looking out for their interests,” Pfeiffer said.

Just two weeks before Obama’s inauguration, Pfeiffer himself still seems amazed at how far he has come.

“Watching this campaign grow from a tiny operation in a small office with a half dozen people to the largest, most organized political organization in history and now being on the cusp of seeing Barack Obama take the oath of office is surreal to say the least,” he said.

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