Ed Gillespie Gets Credit for Bush's Poll Uptick

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Recently named White House communications czar Ed Gillespie is winning rave reviews for handling critical PR issues, a sign that gives insiders confidence that the president will weather the upcoming congressional storm over the Petraeus troop surge review. "On the areas where we have faced potential problems, he's had us ready with answers before the questions were even asked," says an administration official. A Senate aide agreed, giving Gillespie—the former Republican National Committee chairman and lobbyist—good grades for helping congressional communicators coordinate responses on major issues. Of note, Gillespie is getting credit for helping the president win authorization for wiretapping under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and the rollout of the National Intelligence Estimate. Also, there appears to be a new initiative to feed news stories to major outlets like the New York Times and Washington Post, say insiders. And everybody inside the West Wing has noticed the bump up in the president's polling. You might recall that Gillespie replaced Dan Bartlett, Bush's longtime communications aide. Local PR companies say he's been shopping his résumé around and hopes to earn over $1 million a year.