Dana Perino

Dana Perino is known as an American political commentator. She is most famous being a former White House Press Secretary.


Dana Marie Perino was born on May 9, 1972 in Evanston, Wyoming. She is the daughter of Janice "Jan" and Leo Perino. She has a sister named Angie. Two of her paternal great-grandparents were Italian immigrants. Most of her childhood was spent in Denver, Colorado. She attended Ponderosa High School in Parker, a suburb southeast of Denver. She received her college education from Colorado State University. In 1994, Perino graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Mass Communication and she also minored in Political Science and Spanish.

In college, Dana was on the forensics team and worked at KTSC-TV, the campus-based Rocky Mountain PBS affiliate and also worked at KCCY-FM on the 2 to 6 AM shift. Perino went on to obtain a Master's Degree in Public Affairs Reporting from the University of Illinois. While she was attending her university, she worked at several college stations. During her time at UIS, she also worked for WCIA, a CBS affiliate, as a daily reporter covering the Illinois Capitol. She was admired by her college peers because she was simultaneously getting a college education and getting experience working in the real world.

Marriage, Divorce, and Husband

Dana Perino married Peter McMahon whom she met on a Denver flight. She married him on September 30, 1998, just 13 months after they met. McMahon is from England and is a businessman involved in the sales of medical products and international marketing. On his return to England, McMahon realized he had fallen for Perino. He couldn’t get her off his mind. After their marriage, she lived in England with him for a year before coming back to the US.

For Perino, it is her first marriage and it was McMahon’s third marriage. The couple has no children together. However, he has children from a previous marriage. He has two grandchildren as well.


Dana Perino went on to work in Washington, D.C. for Congressman Scott McInnis as a staff assistant before serving nearly four years as the press secretary for Rep. Dan Schaefer McInnis. After Schaefer announced his retirement in 1998, Perino and her husband moved to Great Britain.

In November 2001, Perino returned to Washington, D.C., and secured a position as a spokesperson for the Department of Justice, a role which she served for two years. Perino then joined the White House staff as the associate director of communications for the White House Council on Environmental Quality, where she provided strategic advice on message development, media relations, and public outreach.

Perino served as Deputy Press Secretary from 2005 to 2007. She was hired for the role by Scott McClellan. In the role, Perino communicated many times a day with President Bush's director of communications, his press secretary and his director of media affairs. She also served as the spokesperson for the White House on environmental issues. In addition, she served as the coordinator for all agencies on environment, energy and natural resource issues, as well as reviewing and approving the agencies' major announcements.

From March 27 through April 30, 2007, she was the Acting White House Press Secretary while Tony Snow underwent treatment for his colon cancer. On August 31, 2007, Bush announced that Snow would be resigning his post for health reasons and that Perino would become his replacement. Perino was promoted to the rank of Assistant to the President and served as White House Press Secretary from September 14, 2007, until the end of the Bush Administration in January 2009. She was the second female White House Press Secretary in the history of the United States.

On December 14, 2008, a TV journalist, Muntadhar al-Zaidi, threw two shoes at Bush during a Baghdad press conference. Bush successfully dodged both, but Perino's eye was injured by a microphone stand during the commotion caused by the attacker’s arrest.

After leaving the world of politics, Dana became a political commentator for the Fox News network and served as a co-host for Fox News Channel’s talk show The Five. She initially joined Fox News in 2009 as a contributor.

Besides her work as a political commentator, Perino is actively involved in charitable matters. She is the President of Dana Perino and Co and also the founder of Minute Mentoring. She is a public speaker on political trends and is active in maternal health and child development through the One Campaign and Mercy Ships. She lends a helping hand to veterans through Companions for Heroes and is an animal rights activist rescuing animals with vets suffering from PTSD.

Other Political Work

Perino is also a book publishing executive at Random House. For three years, Perino served on the US Broadcasting Board of Governors. The appointment was made by President Barak Obama and confirmed by the US Senate. During President Bush’s administration, she served for more than seven years at the Justice Department and the Council on Environmental Policy. In late 2001, she was the spokesperson at Capitol Hill and served there for two years. She also worked in private practice public relations and as a reporter in Illinois and Colorado.

Last Modified: Apr 6, 2020

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