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 TIME on politics Congressional Quarterly CNN/AllPolitics CNN/AllPolitics - Storypage, with TIME and Congressional Quarterly

Clinton to name new communications director

By John King/CNN

March 9, 1999
Web posted at: 5:10 p.m. EST (2210 GMT)

TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras (March 9)-- White House officials say President Bill Clinton will soon name a new communications director as part of a senior staff reorganization that includes recruiting discussions with several top congressional Democratic staffers.

Loretta Ucelli will be named communications director in the next few days, officials told CNN. Ann Lewis, who now holds that position, will be shifted into the role of counselor to the president.

Administration and Democratic sources told CNN that Chief of Staff John Podesta is trying to bring in new talent for two reasons: to replace trusted aides who recently left the White House, including Rahm Emanuel and Paul Begala, and to get new additions up to speed before several more departures expected in the next several months.

These sources identified several veteran Democratic strategists who are discussing the possibility of joining the senior White House staff. The sources, and those involved in the discussions, asked that their names not be used because no decisions have been made.

Ucelli is a veteran communications and policy hand, having worked for the National Association of Broadcasters, the National Abortion Rights Action League and more recently for Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Carol Browner.

Ucelli will take charge of the communications shop, which includes media strategy and speechwriting. Lewis will shift into Begala's slot, though sources said the job was being reshaped and that Lewis would do more outreach to Democratic constituency groups. She is one of the more liberal members of the senior White House staff.

Podesta is working closely with top presidential aide Doug Sosnik on the recruiting, according to several sources. Sosnik is among those who is telling friends he is likely to leave within the next several months, although he has said as much before.

One of the sources involved noted the departures of Emanuel, Begala and Press Secretary Mike McCurry over the past several months and said, "We're a little thin in the senior adviser role around here." The official said new blood would also be helpful in an administration that just weathered a year of investigation and impeachment because of the Monica Lewinsky affair.


Tuesday, March 9, 1999

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