New blood in the White House...

News & Politics

The press seems to be quaking over the alleged "shake up" in the White House. And that is exactly what the president was hoping for. Last week, the Bush appointed a new chief of staff Joshua Bolton. "Appointed" might be the technical word, but "shuffled" seems more apropos, considering that Bolton comes to the position from the Office of Management and Budget.

Indeed, while Bolton and the president seem intent on making the White House appear to have a "fresh start" before the mid-term elections, the demonstrated affinity the president has for a small contingent of (often Texan) buddies seems a distinct limitation.

It's hard to see where the "fresh blood" is when we're getting Rob Portman, Bush's current U.S. trade representative heading over to Bolton's old office and Susan Schwab, currently a deputy trade representative, taking over for Portman. Joel Kaplan, formerly of the OMB, is now deputy chief of staff for policy -- freeing up Karl Rove's time in preparation for elections. And that's exactly how the White House sees it. As McClellan noted today, "Karl is someone who has always been intimately involved in the strategic planning and addressing these bigger strategic issues and this will free him up to do more of that."

The press, waiting breathlessly for the story on the new face of the White House, will be sorely disappointed. This is business as usual -- only more so. The more interesting story here is that, while we watch administration officials trade offices, Bush has given Karl Rove more free time (yikes.) and made clear that Donald Rumsfeld, who arguably should be replaced -- isn't going anywhere.

After McClellan's resignation announcement this morning, he and Bush crossed the lawn to board Marine One to make their choreographed exit. But because of mechanical problems, the helicopter was kept grounded. A fine metaphor -- those closest to the president aren't going anywhere anytime soon.

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