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The lowdown on Bush's inner circle

Cabinet picks draw praise for diversity, criticism for lack of differing views

Democrat Norman Mineta has been chosen by Bush to be his secretary of transportation  

January 9, 2001
Web posted at: 3:37 PM EST (2037 GMT)

(CNNfyi) -- A president often makes his most important moves before he's officially the chief executive -- namely finding capable, loyal people who will help him make all his future decisions.

The president's inner circle, from personal advisers to Cabinet members, reflects on the commander in chief in many ways. The entourage goes a long way in shaping a given administration's ideology, operational style and personality.

Lisa Wernick, deputy executive director of the College Republican National Committee, said Bush's Cabinet choices resonated with the public, particularly young people. She said the diversity of the group, which includes two women, two African-Americans, an Arab-American and an Asian-American, impressed her.

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"Setting a tone and being a good team leader -- that's what made him a strong candidate," said Wernick, 25. "He's put together a group of people who will do a great job. Young people are noticing that the Cabinet is so diverse."

While lauding the character, intelligence and ethnic diversity of the Cabinet selections, North Carolina Teen Democrats president Mark Hanson said Bush did himself and the country a disservice by nominating only one Democrat, Norman Mineta as transportation secretary.

"It's the most conservative Cabinet in years -- I don't see any type of unification," the Charlotte Catholic High School senior said. "It was an opportunity for him to incorporate both sides, and he could have done a better job."

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