WASHINGTON: The Bush administration may want Margaret Tutwiler back in Washington, but it has decided that Iraq needs her first.
The current ambassador to Morocco and likely successor to Charlotte Beers in the State Department was asked by the White House last week to take over the US' public communications operation in Baghdad. She arrived on Monday, and will assist the Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance for "several weeks," according to State Department spokesman Phillip Reeker.
"The decision to have her travel there reflects the high importance that we place on public affairs and communications efforts in postwar Iraq," he added. "We'll work with her from here, and coordinate all the interest on the ground."
Tutwiler confirmed last week that she is still in negotiations with the White House to become the next undersecretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs. That position, left earlier this year by ex-advertising executive Beers, controls America's diplomatic and media efforts overseas.
Tutwiler will be overseeing a new US government-backed TV service that will broadcast American news programs with Arabic subtitles.