Another big name was added to the Petraeus affair scandal this week when whistleblower Jill Kelley hired D.C. political powerhouse and famed spin-doctoring “fixer” Judy Smith as a consultant. Smith is a huge name when it comes to politics and her addition to the story makes the Petraeus saga feel less like real life and more like a crappy made-for-TV movie.
Who is Judy Smith and why does she turn the Petraeus story into a Lifetime movie?
Here’s what you need to know.
1. She’s the Queen of Crisis Management P.R.
When it comes to crisis management P.R. in D.C., the conversation starts with Judy Smith. Smith, who has a BA in Public Relations from Boston University and a law degree from Washington College of Law, is hands down the biggest crisis management consultant in the nation. She was used by both the Clinton and Bush administrations, was the VP of communications for NBC and even had a show on ABC based around her life. Judy Smith is a bonafide D.C. heavy hitter.
2. She was the Inspiration for the ABC Show Scandal
How much of a big shot is Judy Smith? ABC made a show based off her involvement in D.C. ABC’s Scandal tells the story of D.C.’s most badass PR crisis manager, Olivia Pope. Pope’s character, played by Kerry Washington, is directly based off of Judy Smith.
3. Originally No One Knew Why She Was Brought In
People were originally confused as to why Smith was brought on. Jill Kelley’s claims did not seem to put her in any danger of negative public image or legal trouble so bringing on Smith as council seemed to be a weird move. Looking back now on the way things unfolded, this was the first sign that there was more to Kelley’s side of the story than previously reported.
4. She Has to Deal with Kelley’s Relationship with Allen
The FBI has since released that they are investigating a possible relationship between Jill Kelley and Petraeus’ right hand man (and successor) in Afghanistan, Gen. John Allen. It is unclear what the direct tie is between her relationship with Allen and the Petraeus incident, but based on how this story has gone so far I’m sure we can all look forward to a bombshell connection in the near future.
5. She Has to Deal with 20,000-30,000 Pages of Emails
The FBI found between 20,000 and 30,000 pages of “inappropriate” emails between Kelley and Allen. While it is unclear whether Allen and Kelley had a sexual realtionship, an FBI official has revealed that the emails were “Flirtatious” in nature.
6. She is Just Dealing with Kelley and Not Petraeus
It’s interesting that Judy Smith, the world’s No. 1 “fixer,” is working for a relative no-name in the scandal and not not the big dog, Petraeus. Which leads to the question, “Which side of this case is more important?” Has General Petraeus’ standing in this scandal really been overshadowed by some random MILF from Florida?
7. Smith Was a Special Assistant to President Bush’s Press Secretary
Judy Smith was a special assistant to the press secretary during poppa Bush’s White House administration in 1991. Some of her major work included PR guidance during the Clarence Thomas nomination, PR consulting during the Gulf War and dealing with US-Kuwaiti relations.
8. She Worked for Monica Lewinsky in the Clinton Scandal
Judy was Monica Lewinsky’s lawyer during the fallout from her relationship with President Clinton. Smith was brought on to specifically help Lewinsky navigate through the media blitz on Lewinsky’s life after the scandal.
9. She Did PR for Michael Vick
What does this have to do with the case? Absolutely nothing BUT Vick stands out amongst Smith’s long list of A-list clients. Judy was brought on to help the NFL QB during Vick’s “puppy-gate” scandal back in 2007.
10. She also did PR for Larry Craig, Wesley Snipes and Kobe Bryant
Smith’s list of clients is both impressive and really diverse. She did PR major world groups like Saudia Arabia (who needed PR help with their reputation after 9/11) and helped spread awareness during the SARS epidemic. She also was involved in celebrity PR, representing celebrities like Larry Craig, Wesley Snipes and Kobe Bryant.