Tommy Vietor

Last updated

Tommy Vietor
Tommy Vietor SXSW 2017-03-14 01 (cropped).jpg
BornThomas Frederick Vietor IV
(1980-08-31) August 31, 1980 (age 40)
Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
Alma mater Kenyon College (BA)
Hanna Koch
(m. 2018)

Thomas Frederick Vietor IV (born August 31, 1980 [1] ) is an American political commentator and podcaster. He is a former spokesperson for President Barack Obama and the United States National Security Council from 2011 to 2013. [2] [3] [4] He is a founder of Crooked Media and co-hosts the podcasts Pod Save America and Pod Save the World .


Early life

Vietor was raised in Dedham, Massachusetts and attended Milton Academy. [5] [6] [7] He graduated from Kenyon College in 2002 with a BA in philosophy. [2] While at Kenyon, he played on the men's Lacrosse team [8] [9] and participated in campus Greek life as a member of the Psi Upsilon fraternity. [10]


In 2004, Vietor turned down an offer from the John Kerry presidential campaign in favor of joining Illinois State Senator Barack Obama for his first statewide run. His first job for Obama was driving the candidate's press van across rural Illinois. During this period, Vietor worked with and learned from Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs. [2]

Vietor was deputy press secretary for the Barack Obama Illinois Senate Campaign in 2004, then became deputy press secretary for Senator Obama the following year and press secretary the year after that. During Obama's presidential campaign from 2007–2008, he was Iowa Press Secretary. [11]

Following Obama's victory in the 2008 presidential election, Vietor became the Assistant White House Press Secretary, from January 2009 to January 2011; he then served as National Security Spokesman and Special Assistant to the President from January 2011 until March 2013. [12]

Vietor left the White House in March 2013, along with Obama's Director of Speechwriting Jon Favreau, to pursue a career in private sector consulting and screenwriting. Together, they founded the communications firm Fenway Strategies. [13]

In March 2016, Vietor became a regular co-host of The Ringer's political podcast Keepin' it 1600 , along with Favreau and their fellow Obama administration alumni Dan Pfeiffer and Jon Lovett. [14]

Shortly after the November 2016 election, Vietor, Lovett and Favreau decided to pursue podcasting and activism on a full-time basis. They founded their own company, Crooked Media, and launched a new podcast, Pod Save America . [15] In an interview with Recode's Kara Swisher, Vietor explained that "If Hillary [Clinton] had won, we probably would've kept doing this as a hobby... But when she lost, I think we all had this existential crisis, where it didn't feel right to wake up every day and obsess about politics and what's happening in the country, and then go to work doing something else." [16]

Along with Ben Rhodes, who served as Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications and Speechwriting under President Obama, Vietor also hosts a podcast covering global issues and policy making decisions called Pod Save the World . The podcast debuted on January 10, 2017. [17]

Vietor hosted a five-part miniseries about the Iowa caucuses called Pod Save America: On the Ground in Iowa. The miniseries was produced by Pineapple Street Studios. [18]

Related Research Articles

Dedham, Massachusetts Town in Massachusetts, United States

Dedham is a town in and the county seat of Norfolk County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 24,729 at the 2010 census. It is located on Boston's southwest border. On the northwest it is bordered by Needham, on the southwest by Westwood, and on the southeast by Canton. The town was first settled by European colonists in 1635.

Jay Carney

James Ferguson Carney is a former White House press secretary to President Barack Obama. He served as press secretary from February 2011 through June 2014. For the first two years of Obama's presidency, Carney was director of communications for Vice President Joe Biden. Prior to his government service, Carney worked for 20 years at Time Magazine, and was the magazine's Washington bureau chief from 2005 to 2008. As a Washington-based reporter, Carney appeared frequently on various political talk shows, including This Week with George Stephanopoulos for ABC News.

Robert Gibbs 28th White House Press Secretary

Robert Lane Gibbs is an American communication professional who served as executive vice president and global chief communications officer of McDonald's from 2015 to 2019 and as the twenty-fifth White House Press Secretary from 2009 to 2011.

Jon Favreau (speechwriter)

Jonathan Edward Favreau is an American political commentator, podcaster, and the former Director of Speechwriting for President Barack Obama.

Alyssa Mastromonaco

Alyssa Mende Mastromonaco is an American spokeswoman and former government official. She was previously the President of Global Communications Strategy & Talent at A&E Networks and the Chief Operating Officer of Vice Media. She is also a contributing editor at Marie Claire magazine. She previously served as White House Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations in the administration of President Barack Obama from 2011 to 2014. She was the youngest woman to hold that position. In 2005, Mastromonaco was hired as then Senator Obama's Director of Scheduling. She is also a New York Times best selling author and co-host of the Crooked Media podcast, Hysteria.

Daniel Pfeiffer

Howard Daniel Pfeiffer is an American podcaster and Obama White House staffer. He was the Senior Advisor to U.S. President Barack Obama for Strategy and Communications from 2013 to 2015.

Ben Rhodes (White House staffer) American speechwriter

Benjamin J. Rhodes is an American writer, political commentator and former Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications and Speechwriting under President Barack Obama. With Jake Sullivan, he is the co-chair of National Security Action, a political NGO. He contributes to NBC News and MSNBC regularly as a political commentator. He is also a Crooked Media contributor, and co-host of the foreign policy podcast Pod Save the World.

Cody Keenan

Cody Keenan is an American political advisor and speechwriter who served as the Director of Speechwriting for President Barack Obama. Keenan studied political science at Northwestern University. After graduation, he worked in the senate office of Ted Kennedy, before studying for a master's in public policy at the Harvard Kennedy School. After graduation, he took a full-time position on the Barack Obama presidential campaign in 2008. In 2009, he took on the position of Deputy Director of Speechwriting; after Jon Favreau left the White House in 2013, Keenan took over as Director of Speechwriting.

The Ringer (website) American sports and pop culture website

The Ringer is a sports and pop culture website and podcast network, founded by sportswriter Bill Simmons in 2016 and owned by Spotify since 2020.

<i>Keepin It 1600</i>

Keepin' it 1600 was an American political podcast produced by The Ringer and hosted by former Barack Obama staffers Jon Favreau, Tommy Vietor, Jon Lovett, and Dan Pfeiffer.

Political podcasts are podcasts that focus on contemporary politics and current events. Most political podcasts maintain a connection with an existing media source such as a newspaper or magazine. They aim to inform or entertain or advocate a cause, usually for progressive causes, although there are some conservative podcasts. They are often cost-effective to produce, requiring minimal computer technology to operate. Their audiences are generally persons in interested in current events, and programs usually have a duration of a half hour to an hour.

Jon Lovett American screenwriter, speechwriter, and television producer

Jonathan Ira Lovett is an American podcaster, comedian, and former speechwriter. Lovett is a co-founder of Crooked Media, along with fellow former White House staffers during the Obama administration, Jon Favreau and Tommy Vietor. Lovett is a regular host of the Crooked Media podcasts Pod Save America and Lovett or Leave It. As a speechwriter, he worked for President Barack Obama as well as for Hillary Clinton when she was a United States Senator and a 2008 presidential candidate. Lovett also co-created the NBC sitcom 1600 Penn, and was a writer and producer on the third season of HBO's The Newsroom.

<i>Pod Save America</i> American political podcast

Pod Save America is an American progressive political podcast produced and distributed by Crooked Media. The podcast debuted in January 2017 and airs twice weekly, with the Monday edition hosted by former Barack Obama staffers Jon Favreau, Tommy Vietor, and Jon Lovett, and the Thursday edition by Favreau and Dan Pfeiffer.

<i>Pod Save the People</i> American political podcast

Pod Save the People is an American political podcast produced and distributed by Crooked Media and hosted by organizer and activist DeRay Mckesson with weekly appearances by Samuel Sinyangwe, Clint Smith, and Brittany Packnett.

Crooked Media

Crooked Media is a left-leaning American political media company. It was founded in 2017 by Jon Favreau, Jon Lovett, and Tommy Vietor, all former top Barack Obama staffers and former co-hosts of the Keepin' it 1600 podcast. Dan Pfeiffer, also a former Obama employee, co-hosts their flagship podcast Pod Save America with them.

<i>Lovett or Leave It</i>

Lovett or Leave It is a weekly podcast hosted by speechwriter and screenwriter Jon Lovett. It is produced by Lee Eisenberg and distributed by Crooked Media. The theme song is by the band Sure Sure. Lovett has described the show as a way to talk about politics in plain language and has called the discussion "very loose."

<i>Pod Save the World</i> American podcast

Pod Save the World is a weekly American foreign policy podcast produced and distributed by Crooked Media, and hosted by former White House National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor and former Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes. In each episode, Vietor and Rhodes discuss foreign policy and international relations. The last 20–30 minutes of the episode, one of the hosts interviews a guest, usually a foreign policy expert or former government official. Notable guests have included former National Security Advisor Susan Rice, former White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough, and US Senator and vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine.

Erin Gloria Ryan is an American writer, political opinion columnist, and podcaster. She is the host of Hysteria on the Crooked Media podcast network, and a contributor to The Daily Beast.


  1. Parnes, Amie (August 31, 2009). "Vietor's the birthday boy". Politico. Retrieved April 8, 2017.
  2. 1 2 3 Parsons, Christi (February 24, 2013). "Changing of the young guard at the Obama White House". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved April 28, 2021.
  3. Vietor, Tommy (November 17, 2016). "How Will the Press Respond to Trump's Secrecy?". The Atlantic. Retrieved April 28, 2021.
  4. Landler, Mark (March 5, 2013). "Spokesmanship Over, Ex-Obama Aide Now Feels Free ... to Speak". The New York Times. Retrieved April 28, 2021.
  5. Tommy Vietor [@TVietor08] (April 23, 2013). "Lots of reasons to love my hometown of Dedham, MA. Here's one @BostonGlobe @MarkLeibovich @mikebarnicle @BillSimmons" (Tweet) via Twitter.
  6. Tommy Vietor [@TVietor08] (July 23, 2016). "I grew up in Dedham and don't miss the wild New England summer storms. Hope you guys didn't sustain damage" (Tweet) via Twitter.
  7. "Historic Preservation Commission - Rumson, NJ: A History of Sheep's Run".
  8. "Stats: Tommy Vietor 2000". LAX. Retrieved December 28, 2018.CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  9. "Stats: Tommy Vietor". 2002. Retrieved December 28, 2018.
  10. Keith Peterson (November 18, 1999). "Psi Upsilon wins IM Football tourney". Archives at Digital Kenyon: Research, Scholarship, and Creative Exchange. The Kenyon Collegian. p. 15. Retrieved August 16, 2018.CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  11. "Tommy Vietor". The Washington Post. July 24, 2012. Retrieved March 22, 2018.
  12. "Tommy Vietor's journey with Obama: From van driver to National Security Council spokesman". Yahoo News. Retrieved January 2, 2018.
  13. Jan, Tracy (March 3, 2013). "Obama speechwriter Jon Favreau leaves West Wing for screenwriting". Boston Globe. Retrieved January 2, 2018.
  14. Karni, Annie (October 6, 2016). "'Obama bros' learn to love Hillary". Politico. Retrieved December 2, 2016.
  15. Wilstein, Matt (January 9, 2017) [April 11, 2017]. "The 'Keepin' It 1600' Guys Launch Crooked Media to Counter Trump". The Daily Beast. Retrieved April 28, 2021.
  16. Johnson, Eric (March 15, 2017). "Crooked Media's founders aren't paying themselves anything". Recode. Retrieved January 3, 2018.
  17. " 'Pod Save America' by Crooked Media (American Podcasts iTunes Chart)". iTunes Charts. Retrieved January 3, 2018.
  18. "Pod Save America: On the ground in Iowa Archives". Crooked Media. Retrieved June 3, 2020.