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Palmieri, former Edwards spokeswoman, new White House comm director

The staff shuffling at the White House has resulted in a promotion for Jennifer Palmieri, known among local politicos for her role in John Edwards presidential campaign and her testimony at his trial last year. Palmieri will become White House communications director, replacing Dan Pfeiffer, who will become a senior adviser, according to The Washington Post. Palmieri has been serving as deputy communications director.

Former Edwards spokesman going to White House

Jennifer Palmieri, who was John Edwards' chief spokesman during his 2004 presidential run, is joining the Obama White House communications team.

Palmieri will replace former deputy communications director Jen Psaki, Politico, the online political news publication is reporting.

She is a veteran of Washington politics having worked in Congress and in the Bill Clinton White House, and been Democratic National Committee spokesman.. But she is best known in North Carolina as the public face of Edwards' 2004 presidential  campaign.

But she was only a part-time aide to Edwards' 2008 presidential campaign, and was much close to Elizabeth Edwards, becoming much closer to her as she battled cancer.

“We shared many, many laughs in 2004. But the 2008 cycle was very different,” Palmieri wrote in a defense of Edwards in the Washington Post in January 2010.

“It is hard to explain, even to fathom, how difficult these past three years have been on her,” she wrote. “I understand that if your husband betrayed you as badly as hers did, you might have a hard time knowing whom to trust...When she reads this, I know that she will point out the things I said that are wrong or unfair, and express particular dismay at any sentences I ended with prepositions. I love her for that.”

Elizabeth Edwards died in December of that year. Her husband is awaiting trial of charges relating to alleged misuse of campaign money to cover up his extra marital affair he had with a campaign worker and the child they had.

Palmieri currently serves as president of the Center for American Progress's political action fund and as a senior vice president at the parent organization.

Edwards aides spotted at federal courthouse

Two former aides for John Edwards were at the federal courthouse in Raleigh on Thursday where a grand jury has been investigating the two-time presidential candidate.

Former campaign spokeswoman Jennifer Palmieri spent about an hour at the courthouse, according to the Associated Press. Former deputy campaign manager Jonathan Prince spent four hours.

Neither commented when leaving the courthouse.

Efforts to reach Palmieri by both phone and e-mail on Thursday were unsuccessful. A spokeswoman for the Center for American Progress in Washington, where Palmieri now works as the senior vice president for communications, declined to comment.

The U.S. Attorney's office and the FBI have been investigating Edwards' campaign finances for more than a year, seeking to determine whether money was diverted in the effort to cover up the candidate's affair with mistress Rielle Hunter. The former U.S. Senator, who acknowledged paternity of Hunter's baby last year, has denied any wrongdoing.

In addition to working for John Edwards, Palmieri also was a close friend of Elizabeth Edwards, the candidate's estranged wife. Prince was a close aide to Edwards for both presidential campaigns.

Edwards' statement on affair

John Edwards has released a statement:

In 2006, I made a serious error in judgment and conducted myself in a way that was disloyal to my family and to my core beliefs. I recognized my mistake and I told my wife that I had a liaison with another woman, and I asked for her forgiveness. Although I was honest in every painful detail with my family, I did not tell the public. When a supermarket tabloid told a version of the story, I used the fact that the story contained many falsities to deny it. But being 99% honest is no longer enough.

I was and am ashamed of my conduct and choices, and I had hoped that it would never become public. With my family, I took responsibility for my actions in 2006 and today I take full responsibility publicly. But that misconduct took place for a short period in 2006. It ended then. I am and have been willing to take any test necessary to establish the fact that I am not the father of any baby, and I am truly hopeful that a test will be done so this fact can be definitively established. I only know that the apparent father has said publicly that he is the father of the baby. I also have not been engaged in any activity of any description that requested, agreed to or supported payments of any kind to the woman or to the apparent father of the baby.

It is inadequate to say to the people who believed in me that I am sorry, as it is inadequate to say to the people who love me that I am sorry. In the course of several campaigns, I started to believe that I was special and became increasingly egocentric and narcissistic. If you want to beat me up - feel free. You cannot beat me up more than I have already beaten up myself. I have been stripped bare and will now work with everything I have to help my family and others who need my help.

I have given a complete interview on this matter and having done so, will have nothing more to say.

The statement was sent via e-mail to a number of national reporters, but not to The N&O, from former Edwards' spokeswoman Jennifer Palmieri at 5:07 p.m.

Palmieri currently works as the senior vice president at the Center for American Progress, where Elizabeth Edwards is a senior fellow on health care.

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