Ashcroft chooses public affairs chief

WASHINGTON: When it came to hiring a director of PA for the

Department of Justice, newly confirmed Attorney General John Ashcroft

turned to the spokesperson who helped him during his difficult

nomination hearings, giving Mindy Tucker the job.



Tucker, 30, will head a department of 17. She will also play a

coordinating role with key PA departments that fall under Justice's

purview, including those for the FBI and the Drug Enforcement

Administration.



Tucker's initial challenge is to combat the widespread negative reaction

surrounding Ashcroft's appointment, especially in civil rights

issues.



'He's an honorable man,' Tucker explained about her boss. She said the

best strategy is to let Ashcroft be himself and demonstrate his

diligence as the nation's top lawyer.



The early line had Tucker heading for the State Department, perhaps the

most demanding communications position after the White House press

secretary job. State even proved challenging to Mike McCurry, who could

claim a much weightier portfolio than Tucker upon his arrival at Foggy

Bottom.



Tucker said she is delighted with her assignment. Ray Sullivan, deputy

press secretary for the Bush campaign and now deputy executive assistant

to Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) said Tucker is well-organized, which is

essential in running a public affairs operation that addresses issues

ranging from antitrust to global terrorism.



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