Tutwiler in talks to succeed Beers as head of US public diplomacy

WASHINGTON: Margaret Tutwiler, ambassador to Morocco and longtime Republican strategist, is reportedly in negotiations with the Bush administration to assume the role recently vacated by Charlotte Beers.

WASHINGTON: Margaret Tutwiler, ambassador to Morocco and longtime Republican strategist, is reportedly in negotiations with the Bush administration to assume the role recently vacated by Charlotte Beers.

Beers, an icon among ad execs before landing a job as undersecretary of state for public affairs and public diplomacy in 2001, abandoned her post last month for health reasons. It was her charge to lead the reconstruction of America's long-dormant public diplomacy function - a task she was appointed to approach with tactics more reminiscent of Madison Avenue than Pennsylvania Avenue.

While many in the public diplomacy community criticized Beers for a too-slick "sales" approach - her "Shared Values" ad campaign was rebuffed both overseas and internally at the State Department - Tutwiler is already being hailed as a career politico more suited to the task.

"I think she'd be terrific," offered Harold Pachios, chairman of the US Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy. "Beers was a corporate mogul, and it's a much different proposition to try and get something done in a bureaucracy," he said. "What you need to succeed in (the State Department) is the ability to make political and bureaucratic alliances. Tutwiler knows how to do that."

Tutwiler is well known in Washington for her straight talking, quick wit, Southern drawl, and allegiance to James Baker. Prior to assuming her role in Morocco in July 2001, she served as a spokeswoman at both the Treasury and State Departments. She recently assisted Baker in his attempts to stop the recounts in Florida following the 2000 Presidential election.

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