White House Watch: Bartlett to play bigger role in Bush message
Insiders say George W. Bush will turn more and more to Dan Bartlett to help get out Bush's twin messages on the economy and Iraq. Some even go so far as to see Bartlett emerging as the rising star in the White House.
The youthful counselor to the president is a frequent presence in the Oval Office and has become one of the four most important members of the inner circle, which also includes Vice President Cheney, White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card, and Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove.
Bartlett was Bush's communications director in the president's first term, but he now has an expanded portfolio that includes advising Bush on most domestic issues and retaining a powerful role in message development. What gives Bartlett his clout is that he has been a loyal and tireless Bush staffer from the president's years as Texas governor and the fact that, as one senior White House adviser says, the Bush-Bartlett relationship is "like father and son."
Look for Bartlett to increase his visibility in the coming weeks as the White House tries to get 2006 off to a strong start. Insiders say Bartlett will pop up more and more on TV to sell Bush's programs and particularly to make the case that the war in Iraq is going well and the economy is strong.