Friday, February 18, 2011
ABC News has provided more information about Governor Palin's newly-hired SarahPAC chief-of-staff, Michael Glassner.
At a speaking appearance in Long Island, New York on Thursday Palin said she "hired a chief of staff because, to tell you the truth, Todd's getting kind of tired of doing it all for me." And her comment likely rings true for just about anyone who has seen the ad hoc nature of her political operation.
It now falls on the shoulders of Glassner, a veteran of Sen. John McCain's 2008 presidential campaign and a long-time aide to former Sen. Bob Dole, to professionalize Team Palin.
Glassner entered Palin's orbit on the heels of other former Dole associates like Rick Davis, McCain's 2008 national campaign manager, who previously served as deputy campaign manager for Dole's 1996 presidential bid.
Dole became a friend and mentor to Glassner, 47, who grew up in rural Marion County, Kansas. By his own account, Glassner developed an interest in politics from an early age. In 1974 -- when he was 11 years old -- he joined what he called the "bumper sticker squad" for Dole's Senate race in Peabody, Kan.
Later, as a student at the University of Kansas in the early 1980s, Glassner interned at Dole's Topeka field office. After graduating with a degree in political science in 1985, he moved to Washington to work full-time on the senator's staff.
He spent the next 15 years playing various roles for Dole, including a long stint as the Republican senator's executive assistant or "body man," and, in the late 1980s, running Dole's Kansas field offices. In 1992 Glassner managed Dole's final Senate campaign and then saw him through the 1996 presidential contest.
Sheila Burke, who served as Dole's chief of staff from 1986 to 1996, said that Glassner has a deep "knowledge of the Republican Party system and a knowledge of campaigns."
"He's remarkably detail-oriented, unbelievably well-organized, even-tempered, and able to manage lots of balls in the air at the same time," Burke said in an interview. "Mike was always discrete; he was never a person you would worry about repeating something he had seen or heard that undermined the person with whom he was working."
"Michael is not an ideologue; he does not come at a problem from the far left or from the far right or even from the far middle," Shiftan said, "Michael is someone who gets things done."
Shiftan said that Glassner "got to know the Palins well personally" during the 2008 campaign, adding that the bond runs deep enough that "he can, in fact, have an influence" over her political future.
Glassner declined ABC News' request for comment. He is spending his time settling into his new role.
Lewis M. Eisenberg, former chairman of the Port Authority, said that Glassner was his liaison to state and local politicians on a variety of transportation projects.
"His job was very political," Eisenberg said. "He was my go-to guy who always made sure things ran smoothly and you never saw him. The waters would be smooth after he left but you'd never know his boat was on those waters."
"Mike understands finance, understands compliance, understands scheduling and advance," said Burke, Dole's former top aide, "All the nuts and bolts of an infrastructure -- that is where his skills are so strong. He's the guy that's always three steps ahead."
Read more about Michael Glassner here.
(h/t Josh Painter)