Robert Bauer

Robert F. Bauer (born February 22, 1952) is an American attorney who served as White House Counsel under President Barack Obama.[1]

Bob Bauer
Co-Chair of the Presidential Commission on the Supreme Court of the United States
Assumed office
April 9, 2021
PresidentJoe Biden
White House Counsel
In office
January 3, 2010 – June 30, 2011
PresidentBarack Obama
Preceded byGreg Craig
Succeeded byKathryn Ruemmler
Personal details
Born (1952-02-22) February 22, 1952 (age 69)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Anita Dunn
EducationHarvard University (BA)
University of Virginia (JD)

Early life and educationEdit

Born in New York City into a Jewish family, Bauer graduated from Phillips Exeter Academy in 1970.[2] He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Harvard College in 1973, and his Juris Doctor from the University of Virginia School of Law in 1976.


Bauer was President Obama's personal attorney and the general counsel of the Barack Obama 2008 presidential campaign. He has also previously served as the general counsel to the Democratic National Committee,[3] and had advised President Obama since 2005.[4]

As general counsel for the 2008 campaign, Bauer asked the Justice Department to investigate the officers and donors of American Issues Project after it ran a negative ad about Obama.[5]

In November 2009, he was named to be the next White House Counsel,[6] upon the resignation of Gregory Craig.

On June 2, 2011, the White House Press Office stated that Bauer would be returning to private practice at Perkins Coie, and that Principal Deputy Counsel to the President Kathryn Ruemmler (his deputy, in that office since January 2010 and before that since January 2009 as Principal Associate Deputy U.S. Attorney General) would succeed him. The position, because it is part of the Executive Office staff that personally advises the President and is not an agency or Cabinet department or military head, does not require Senate confirmation despite the prominence of the office.

Bauer returned to private practice to again represent the president's election team and the Democratic National Committee. "Bob was a critical member of the White House team," Mr. Obama said. "He has exceptional judgment, wisdom, and intellect, and he will continue to be one of my close advisers."[7]

Obama chose Bauer and Benjamin L. Ginsberg, a Republican, in 2013 to co-chair the Presidential Commission on Election Administration, a yearlong investigation into voting problems. Their findings, "The American Voting Experience: Report and Recommendations of the Presidential Commission on Election Administration," were published in 2014.[8]

Bauer serves as Professor of the Practice and Distinguished Scholar in Residence at New York University School of Law. He teaches classes including "The Role of the Lawyer in Public Life" and "Political Reform".[9]

Bauer assisted with vetting efforts for the selection of Joe Biden's running mate in the 2020 presidential election.[10]

During the Joe Biden 2020 presidential campaign, Bauer participated in mock debate sessions with Biden, impersonating the Republican candidate Donald Trump.[11]

Bauer serves as the co-chair of the bipartisan commission to study reforms to the US Supreme Court and the federal judiciary. [12]

Personal lifeEdit

Bauer is married to Anita Dunn, the former director of communications at the White House. He has four children, two daughters-in-law, a son-in-law, and three grandchildren.[4] In 2008, Bauer and Dunn were described as Washington's new "power couple" by Newsweek magazine.[12]


  • After Trump - Reconstructing the Presidency. Bob Bauer and Jack Goldsmith. Lawfare Institute/Lawfare Press. September 2020. ISBN 9781735480619, 978-1-735-4806-0-2


  1. ^ "Bob Bauer - Biography | NYU School of Law". Archived from the original on December 13, 2018. Retrieved December 18, 2018.
  2. ^ Sheinman, Anna (October 29, 2012). "Obama helps Jewish Chief of Staff keep Shabbat". The Jewish Chronicle. Archived from the original on March 13, 2017. Retrieved March 12, 2017.
  3. ^ "Robert (Bob) Bauer | Perkins Coie". Perkins Coie. Archived from the original on February 3, 2017. Retrieved January 21, 2017.
  4. ^ a b Zeleny, Jeff (November 13, 2009). "Craig Steps Down as White House Lawyer". The New York Times. Archived from the original on December 29, 2011. Retrieved November 13, 2009.
  5. ^ Freeman, James (June 7, 2013). "Cleta Mitchell: How to Investigate the IRS". Wall Street Journal. Archived from the original on January 17, 2017. Retrieved January 21, 2017.
  6. ^ Ambindernov, Marc (November 12, 2009). "White House Counsel: Craig Out, Bauer In". The Atlantic. Archived from the original on October 26, 2017. Retrieved June 15, 2017.
  7. ^ Gerstein, Josh; Epstein, Jennifer. "W.H. Counsel Bauer to step down". Politico. Archived from the original on February 13, 2020. Retrieved February 13, 2020.
  8. ^ School, Stanford Law. "Voting in America: A Conversation with Nathaniel Persily, Robert Bauer, and Benjamin Ginsberg". Stanford Law School. Archived from the original on November 4, 2020. Retrieved February 10, 2020.
  9. ^ "NYU School of Law". Archived from the original on December 13, 2018. Retrieved December 15, 2018.
  10. ^ Thomas, Ken (April 30, 2020). "Joe Biden Names Advisers to Oversee Search for Running Mate". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved May 1, 2020.
  11. ^ Peoples, Steve (September 27, 2020). "Biden, Trump take differing approaches to debate preparation". AP News. Retrieved March 22, 2021.
  12. ^ "Power 2009: The New Lineup in Washington". Newsweek. December 19, 2008. Archived from the original on October 23, 2016. Retrieved January 21, 2017.

External linksEdit

Legal offices
Preceded by White House Counsel
Succeeded by