Tonight on PoliticKING: Ben LaBolt, and James Richardson

A majority of Americans dislike Pres. Obama's response to ISIS & other threats to US security. Even some Democrats are left wanting more. Former Obama spokesman Ben Labolt joins Larry with his take. Then: Former GOP spokesman James Richardson tells Larry why Donald Trump's instincts as an entertainer, make him the perfect pop-culture politician. But, is that ultimately better for Republicans or the Democrats in 2016?

Ben Labolt, the Illinois native rocketed to national attention in 2008 as the young deputy press secretary for an ambitious presidential campaign for a relatively unknown Illinois senator: Barack Obama.

Joining a presidential campaign often represents the pinnacle of a political PR pro’s career; LaBolt wasn’t yet 30. He had served as Obama’s press secretary during his last year as a senator, but now he found himself in the middle of a historical election and a campaign that the PR industry continues to hold up as a case study in effective marketing, from its early social media prowess to its use of data and grassroots organizing.

Impressed by LaBolt, the Obama administration added him to the fledgling president’s White House as an assistant press secretary specializing in justice, energy, and the environment, as well as spokesman for the White House Counsel, handling questions directed by some of the country’s toughest journalists. When it was re-election time, Obama once again turned to LaBolt.

Taking on his highest-profile gig yet as national press secretary for the 2012 campaign, LaBolt built the communications team from the ground up and served as the on-camera spokesperson for the grueling campaign that returned Obama to the White House for another four years.

Now the Washington expert has set up shop as a founding partner of The Incite Agency, turning his campaign know-how into a strategic communications consultancy.

"In a short amount of time, LaBolt has worked his way to the top, navigating the inner workings of the executive and legislative branches of government," says a colleague. "With a laser-sharp focus and quick wit, he’s translated a political career into a corporate one."

When LaBolt’s founding partner at Incite, Robert Gibbs, left for the top PR spot at McDonald’s in June, all eyes were on LaBolt. He promised new services and locations for the agency, writing: "It’s full speed ahead."

- LaBolt serves on the Board of RePublic Charter Schools, dedicated to reimagining public education in the South

- As an adjunct instructor at NYU’s School of Professional Studies, LaBolt grooms the next generation in high-pressure crisis management

- Between campaigns and stints in the Obama White House, LaBolt served as comms director for Rahm Emanuel’s successful Chicago mayoral campaign

Public Policy and Regulation practice. With a decade of experience as a spokesman and senior advisor for statewide and federal office holders and policy makers, he helps clients find creative solutions to government red tape through strategic media relations campaigns.

Mr. Richardson's practice concentrates on opinion journalism, working to shape the sentiments of both traditional and emerging media thought leaders. An accommplished commentary writer for the nation's largest and most prestigous newspapers and culture magazines, he has a unique appreciation for Washington's expansive media ecosystem: knowing what to say and where to say it, he moves the needle.

The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of Ora Media, LLC, its affiliates, or its employees.

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