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Zach Friend
Zach Friend is a policy, public affairs and communications expert who has worked for Barack Obama and John Kerry’s presidential campaigns, the White House Council of Economic Advisers, U.S. Senate, Congressman Sam Farr and the Democratic National Committee (DNC). He is author of the book On Message, available on Turner Publishing.

With Obama for America ’08, Zach was a press secretary and spokesman in the battleground state of Pennsylvania, handling planning, writing and media relations in the Greater Philadelphia market. For appearances and interviews, he staffed and briefed Barack Obama, Joe Biden and other campaign principals and surrogates.

As Deputy National Director of Special Projects for the DNC, Zach helped lead the field staff for John Kerry’s campaign. Additionally, he designed message and campaign strategy for Native American outreach in battleground states.

Before the Kerry campaign, Zach served with Senator Daschle, Congressman Farr and the Council of Economic Advisers as a staffer, researcher and writer.

He has been quoted by MSNBC, Fox News, CNN, ABC, CBS, National Public Radio, the LA Times, the Boston Globe, Politico, the Huffington Post and others.

In June of 2012, Zach was elected to the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors representing the 2nd District - which includes Aptos, La Selva, Corralitos and portions of Capitola and Watsonville.

Previously, Zach was the Press Information Officer and a Crime Analyst for the Santa Cruz, California Police Department. In addition to directing communications strategy and acting as the department's spokesman, he analyzed crime statistics to help design more effective prevention and enforcement strategies. This included bringing predictive policing to the department, a complex mathematical model that helped predict when and where crime would occur.

He has been published extensively on issues related to public management, law enforcement resource allocations and health and economic policy.

Zach has a Masters degree in Public Policy from Georgetown University and a BA with Honors in History from the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Entries by Zach Friend

Is Bernie Sanders the John Edwards of 2016?

(97) Comments | Posted October 16, 2015 | 2:12 AM

"We've got 37 million people who wake up every day in poverty...this is not okay, not in the richest country on the planet." Every day a variation of this quote comes from Bernie Sanders' upstart presidential campaign. The trouble is, Bernie Sanders didn't say it. John Edwards did...

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Tea Party Again Gets What It Wants: Nothing

(1) Comments | Posted October 17, 2013 | 5:36 PM

After spending weeks torturing credit markets, receiving warnings from ratings agencies, and arguing that Obamacare's funding of contraception was worth putting America's world standing in question, the tea party ultimately accomplished what they want government to accomplish: nothing.

Maybe it was a feeling of early holiday spirit that made...

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Republican Leadership: If We Spin It We've Solved It

(4) Comments | Posted October 14, 2013 | 3:06 PM

For some reason, nearly every kid gets great pleasure from playing spinning games: sometimes it's riding the teacups at the County Fair and sometimes it is running in circles around a stationary object before trying to run straight. It's a classic game. But every parent that has watched their kid...

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The Republican Narrative: Polls Make us "Blink"

(1) Comments | Posted October 11, 2013 | 11:12 AM

It's amazing what a few bad polling numbers will do. For the Republican Party, it can make them "blink."

Just a few days ago the Republican Party sent out a set of talking points, parroted by surrogates on national media outlets, that they would never "blink" during...

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Tea Party: The Constitution Is an Inconvienent Truth

(15) Comments | Posted October 7, 2013 | 12:22 PM

Do you remember when Congress had value? You know, the days when their primary accomplishments were more than naming post offices and shutting down the government?

What happened?

Oh that's right... The Tea Party.

Leader after leader in the tea party faction of...

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How the War Narrative Has Trapped Congress

(1) Comments | Posted September 4, 2013 | 6:49 PM

Five years ago then-candidate Barack Obama distanced himself from other presidential contenders with his early opposition to the Iraq War. The fact that he had never actually cast a vote on the authorization for war didn't matter -- his main contenders (both in the United States Senate in 2002) had....

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Are Our Political Leaders Losing the Narrative?

(0) Comments | Posted May 28, 2013 | 2:41 PM

One of the most powerful predictors of success in politics and public policy is the strength of the narrative. Yet, time and time again, political leaders lead with data as opposed to emotion -- often with limited results.

Presenting facts about America's aging infrastructure (did you know that 69,000...

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Beware of the Exit Polls

(3) Comments | Posted November 6, 2012 | 3:48 PM

Today is Election Day and all across the nation, people are queuing up to make their voices heard, from the storm battered Northeast to the desert West. The sheer size of our country, and the diversity of its electorate, geography and polling process makes today a huge logistical challenge, with...

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Mitt Romney's Fantasy Poll Numbers

(7) Comments | Posted November 5, 2012 | 9:28 AM

For quite some time now Mitt Romney has been living in a parallel universe. He was for a women's right to choose before he was against it. For reasonable immigration reform before the Republican primaries made him against it and, for that matter, he was for reason before he became...

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Romney's Un-Presidential Response to Hurricane Sandy

(61) Comments | Posted October 31, 2012 | 9:30 AM

Mitt Romney may be the GOP's best actor. He has a foot in every camp, and a position or three on every issue. But as Hurricane Sandy showed this week, the job he's auditioning for so earnestly for demands more than posturing and prose, it demands decisions. It demands a...

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Romney's Commander-in-Chief Problem

(12) Comments | Posted October 24, 2012 | 6:57 PM

Sometimes the evolution of a candidate can be a good thing. Take President Lincoln's evolution on the meaning of emancipation or RFK's views on the war in Vietnam.

But those evolutions occurred over time, through internal conflict and reflection.

And let's be honest, Mitt Romney is...

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How Biden's Debate Performance Can Swing the Election

(5) Comments | Posted October 12, 2012 | 3:35 PM

Conventional wisdom tells us that vice presidential debates don't do anything to swing elections. Don't tell that to the estimated 43 million people that watched the debate.

And let's be honest, there is nothing conventional about this race.

On the face of it, Romney should be walking away...

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Why Obama's Debate Performance Means He'll Win

(178) Comments | Posted October 7, 2012 | 7:35 PM

I'm pretty sure the Obama campaign will trade a debate loss for an electoral win. And if the campaign plays it right that is exactly what will happen.

After all, sometimes you need events like this to refocus a campaign.

You needn't look further than the Romney campaign....

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Why the Media Will Ensure Romney Wins the Debate

(85) Comments | Posted October 3, 2012 | 2:17 PM

There is nothing the media likes more than a good story, even if the story has to be exaggerated a bit. And the story the media will create tonight will be of Mitt Romney: The Other Comeback Kid.

News reports are already showing the media...

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Romney's Last Chance: October 3rd

(1) Comments | Posted September 21, 2012 | 12:00 PM

There is a tradition in campaigns that occurs a few weeks before Election Day: convincing the world that your candidate isn't very good at public speaking.

In campaign speak it's called "managing expectations." The tradition, before the presidential debates, is where campaign surrogates tell you the other guy rocks and...

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Why Obama's Narrative Will Win the Election

(0) Comments | Posted September 7, 2012 | 2:19 AM

This election is Mitt Romney's to lose, and it looks like he's lost it.

In 60 days, when all the votes are counted, political analysts will be able to look to the day Barack Obama delivered his speech to the Democratic Convention as the day he won the election....

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Romney's Veep Choice: 'I'm Going to Lose'

(56) Comments | Posted August 11, 2012 | 3:12 PM

Nothing spells fear more than irrationality.

And there is nothing safe or rational about choosing Paul Ryan as your running mate.

Historically, a vice presidential selection has little impact on the outcome of a race. But it does give you a significant window into the thinking of a...

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Why Mitt Romney Will Lose: Narrative Failure

(6) Comments | Posted February 20, 2012 | 5:35 PM

In the 1967 blockbuster film Cool Hand Luke, Paul Newman takes his final stand by telling the prison warden, "what we have here is a failure to communicate!" Little did he know that he could have been speaking in part about the 2012 Republican presidential nomination.

After all, in...

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Obama's Path to Victory

(1) Comments | Posted June 27, 2011 | 5:53 PM

Over the coming months pundits will slice and dice polling data, census information and the unemployment numbers of soccer moms to see whether President Obama has a clear path to victory. While I agree it's important to understand the electoral math, and it appears that the 2012 map will be...

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How Obama Could Win Reelection Right Now

(142) Comments | Posted May 8, 2011 | 5:00 PM

Conventional wisdom has it that people don't start paying attention to campaigns until Labor Day; that is Labor Day next year. But in three easy steps Obama's campaign could save a lot of headaches by simply winning the election right now. How is this possible?

Step One: Help establish...

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