Fleischer's role seen as a sign of big things to come

WASHINGTON: The appointment of Bush/Cheney campaign spokesman Ari Fleischer to transition spokesman is seen as a sign that he has the inside track to becoming the next White House press secretary.

WASHINGTON: The appointment of Bush/Cheney campaign spokesman Ari Fleischer to transition spokesman is seen as a sign that he has the inside track to becoming the next White House press secretary.

WASHINGTON: The appointment of Bush/Cheney campaign spokesman Ari Fleischer to transition spokesman is seen as a sign that he has the inside track to becoming the next White House press secretary.

'It's a windsock that points to his being one step closer to the position and the other possibilities may be one step back,' said Michael Caputo, president of Rainmaker Interactive's marketing PR division, who worked on the 1992 presidential reelection campaign of Bush senior.

Initially there had been some question about Fleischer landing the press secretary role in the event of a Bush win, given that he was a relative outsider in the tight Bush network. Spokeswoman Karen Hughes was considered to be the dominant figure.

But Fleischer is well-connected on Capitol Hill and in Washington, having held press jobs on both the House and Senate side.

However, he is considered to be a 'spinner,' and suggestions have been made that as a White House press secretary he may need to demonstrate a more restrained, objective style than he has adopted in the past.

Hughes is said to be in discussion with Andy Card, the Bush transition director, regarding their roles.

Former Democratic communications strategist Mike Casey suggested that a Bush communications team would have a difficult job given the contested nature of his victory.

Casey criticized the Bush campaign for waging personal attacks against Democratic nominee Al Gore, despite their pledge not to do so.

'They'll have to soften their tone if they want the boss to be seen as a uniter, not a divider. The national press corps will not give them a four year pass.'



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