Dana Perino hasn’t worked on Capitol Hill or in government since the outset of the Bush administration, and it sounds as if that will stay the case for a while.
During a discussion at the American Enterprise Institute Thursday, Perino remarked that it “breaks my heart” to come back to Washington and, specifically, Capitol Hill, saying the distance between the two parties is “foreign to me.”
Perino made the comments to former Clinton administration press secretary Mike McCurry, who moderated the discussion.
“Would you come back to Washington now?” asked McCurry. “The Washington that is here today if you had that kind of opportunity.”
“I had such a positive experience in Washington that it breaks my heart, in a way, to go to Capitol Hill,” Perino said.
“I did an event about a year ago with Senate press secretaries, this is before the 2014 midterms, so they were deep in the minority, and I just came to town to have a chit-chat with everybody,” Perino explained. “I wanted feedback about the show, and we’re in this room just having sandwiches and nobody else was talking.”
“They all looked so miserable, and I finally stopped and I said, ‘Excuse me, but is anyone having any fun here? Because this is the best job I’ve ever had in my life,'” Perino said. “It was so fun. There’s so much opportunity, you meet so many people. You can laugh about things like Obamacare with a Republican or a Democrat.”
“It’s foreign to me, this distance,” she added. “It’s not a part of what I experienced.”
Perino, now a co-host of “The Five,” went on to detail a story she tells in her book about her experience at the 2005 Gridiron Dinner, which she spent most of the night with then-Sen. Barack Obama.
“He and I laughed our butts off for four hours,” Perino said, adding that he introduced her to Michelle Obama as well. “We had so much fun.”
“I got home and my husband says, ‘So how was your night.’ I said, ‘It was great! Peter I got to sit with Barack Obama and, I gotta tell you, I think he could be president in like 20 years,” she said.