Aug 24, 6:03 AM EDT

Film industry spokeswoman to be Biden's communications chief

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WASHINGTON (AP) -- Vice President Joe Biden has chosen a top film industry official and former spokeswoman for John Edwards' 2008 presidential campaign to be his new communications director, the White House said Monday.

Kate Bedingfield joins the vice president's team just as Biden is seriously considering whether to run for president. But White House officials are subject to strict limitations on engaging in political activity, and Bedingfield's duties are expected to focus on the vice president's official activities, not on preparations for a potential campaign.

Bedingfield returns to the White House from the Motion Picture Association of America, where she was vice president of corporate communications and the top spokeswoman. She previously held senior media roles in the Obama White House and worked for Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H.

"She will be a key adviser to me, a terrific asset to our office, and an important member of the entire White House organization," Biden said in a statement.

While Biden hasn't made a decision about 2016, he has been discussing the possibility with political advisers and reaching out to longtime donors. On Saturday, he returned to Washington from Delaware at the last minute for an unusual meeting with Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a rising Democratic star whose endorsement is highly sought.

In the 2008 campaign, Bedingfield's role included defending Edwards against campaign-trail attacks and issuing critiques of his opponents - including, on occasion, then-Sen. Barack Obama.

Her tenure at the MPAA coincided with the growth of online piracy, which has posed major problems for U.S. film studios and prompted MPAA lawsuits. Former Sen. Chris Dodd, the MPAA's chairman, called Bedingfield a "trusted adviser and a strategic thinker."

Bedingfield starts work on Monday, the White House said. The role has been vacant since March.


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