Bolten May Shake Up White House Staff

Elizabeth Bumiller reports on speculation that incoming White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten will shake up the administration’s economic and congressional relations teams.

Joshua B. Bolten, the incoming White House chief of staff, is expected to press President Bush to assemble new economic and Congressional relations teams and overhaul the management of the West Wing, Republicans close to the White House said Wednesday.

A prominent Republican in Washington who consults often with the White House said Mr. Bolten, who is to assume his duties next month, wants Mr. Bush to replace the Treasury secretary, John W. Snow, with someone who can more forcefully communicate the administration’s message that the economy is strong. This Republican was granted anonymity to discuss private deliberations within the administration.

Speculation about Mr. Snow’s departure has flared and receded periodically for more than a year, and it returned after Mr. Bush’s announcement on Tuesday that Mr. Bolten, the White House budget director, would succeed Andrew H. Card Jr. as chief of staff. Names circulating in Republican circles as possible candidates for the Treasury post included Henry M. Paulson Jr., the chief executive of Goldman Sachs; John J. Mack, the chief executive of Morgan Stanley; and Richard D. Parsons, the chairman of Time Warner. It was unclear if any of the three would consider taking the job. Their names surfaced immediately after Mr. Bolten’s appointment because Mr. Bolten, who once worked for Goldman Sachs, is friendly with Mr. Paulson and Mr. Mack. Karl Rove, the president’s chief political adviser, is said to think highly of Mr. Parsons, who has worked with the White House on several issues, including its efforts to overhaul Social Security.

I imagine that a shake-up of the economic team will have virtually the same effect as the one that brought Snow and company to power; which is to say, virtually none. While it might make people on Wall Street feel good for a couple of days, I can’t imagine it will give the president a boost in the polls. After all, ninety percent of Americans couldn’t tell you who the Treasury Secretary is given a “John” a “W” and a “Sn.”

Similarly, they are far more familiar with Michael Bolton and Josh Hartnett than with Josh Bolten.

Bolten’s name now spelled correctly throughout.

FILED UNDER: Congress, Uncategorized, , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. I have absolutely no insider knowledge on this, but when a former budget director is reputed to want to get rid of a treasury secretary, I would suspect more political in fighting and pay back than any substantive change.

    I am still backing the notion that Card went on to help Romney’s campaign and that everything else is fever dreams by the press.

  2. FredW says:

    Bolten, not Bolton –he’s the guy at the UN 🙂

  3. legion says:

    Why should I change _my_ name? _He’s_ the one who sucks!