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Facebook hires former Clinton White House press secretary

Company's new face is Joe Lockhart, a Washington insider with experience in the deepest media trenches during Clinton's bruising second term.

George Washington University

Facebook's new vice president of communications has experience working at the highest office in the land. The company announced today that it has hired Joe Lockhart, White House press secretary during President Bill Clinton's second term.

Lockhart comes to Facebook from a communications firm he co-founded, the Glover Park Group, which specializes in political and media strategy. Before shifting to full-time politics, he worked in the ad agency world serving high-profile clients like Coca-Cola. Even earlier in his career, he was a television reporter for networks including CNN and ABC.

Lockhart will join the social-media company next month.

"Joe's arrival brings new skills and greater depth to our incredibly busy team," Elliot Schrage, Facebook's vice president of global communications, marketing and public policy, said in a statement. "His experience building and running a press office at the White House gives him particular appreciation for the demands of a global 24-hour news cycle and the challenges of responding effectively to intense scrutiny."

Lockhart headed President Clinton's press team during the tumultuous years of his 1998-2000 second term, during which he was impeached. He'll likely provide the Silicon Valley company with a key connection to Capitol Hill that could prove to be a vital asset as the company's size and influence grows and becomes of increasing interest to lawmakers.

Facebook is likely to have much more interaction with government in the future as the company moves toward an expected initial public offering, which some predict could come in early 2012.