- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 10, 2001

The Bush presidency gives Timothy S. Goeglein 12-hour workdays, 70 phone calls a day and twice that amount in e-mails.
That intensity is normal for a deputy director of the White House Office of Public Liaison, a 50-year-old division of the executive branch. Its relentless mission is to get the president's message out and bring the public in.
"By federal law, only the president can lobby," Mr. Goeglein, 37, says in the back seat of a White House standard-issue black Chrysler, as its driver negotiates D.C. traffic to make the next appointment.
"So we are not policy," he says. "We are not press. We are the office that conveys the president's message to any number of constituencies."
The public's advice and complaints, moreover, are what he channels "into the White House bloodstream."
One recent Wednesday — 160 days into the Bush administration — this task carried Mr. Goeglein to a presidential commission, two forums with political conservatives and a White House meeting with 150 officials from Christian colleges.
One scholar has estimated that 23,000 nonprofit groups aim their advocacy at the white mansion, producing a "phantasmagoric cacophony of contending voices."
Mr. Goeglein works next door in the Old Executive Office Building, with its long checkerboard hallways. "The first six months [in the job] are the equivalent of a Jackson Pollock painting," he says, referring to the abstract expressionist. "It's been fascinating."
For a decade, Mr. Goeglein was spokesman for former Sen. Dan Coats, Indiana Republican, and later for GOP presidential contender Gary Bauer. Once in the Bush camp, he worked in Austin, Texas, and Florida, then as transition spokesman for a Cabinet secretary.
Only days before the staff swearing-in ceremony, White House political chief Karl Rove rang on the telephone. "I'm calling to change your life," he said.
"Karl's a funny guy," Mr. Goeglein recalls. "I laughed, and he laughed. And this changed my life. There's not a day — a lot of pressure, a lot of stress — that I've not felt this is the greatest job in the world."
It certainly is a key portal for Mr. Bush.
Mr. Goeglein is point man for conservatives, think tanks, the range of Christian traditions, veterans, national security concerns and any team-effort lobbies, such as a coalition interested in passing the tax-cut bill. His work overlaps with the Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, plus he handles public exchanges over Mr. Bush's judicial nominees.
That issue heated up June 26 when Democrat-controlled Senate hearings showcased liberal legal scholars excoriating "conservative judicial activism" and calling for litmus tests for judges.
Speaking to conservatives the next day, Mr. Goeglein said the liberals had revealed their hand. "Yesterday was a red-letter day," he said, suggesting that Republicans were a picture of calm, constitutional objectivity.
The public liaison office is headed by former California high-tech CEO Lezlee Westine. Her other deputy is Kirk Blalock, who oversees economic, trade and budget issues. Four associates tackle specific areas, such as education and black, Jewish and women's issues.
All liaisons are one prong in a political operation headed by Mr. Rove. Political affairs and "strategic initiatives," which eye long-term agendas, are two other prongs in his "fork."
A typical day for Mr. Goeglein, sampled by a reporter, is made up of morning meetings with Mr. Rove or liaison staff, breakfast and lunch rendezvous, one to four talks to groups, myriad calls to return, and maybe business over dinner.
Wednesdays have a set groove. That's when Washington conservatives meet for a midmorning colloquy led by Grover Norquist, an economic libertarian, and a lunchtime forum hosted by Paul Weyrich, a social conservative.
Members of Congress and the administration show up, but Mr. Goeglein is a regular. When he stands to speak, he is fair game for advice or complaint. "Because I'm working with thousands of people, I have the benefit of hearing their opinions or strategies," he says.
The left-leaning sector, such as the Brookings Institution and various liberal advocacy groups, also wants the White House's ear. Though some leaders of Mr. Bush's denomination, the United Methodist Church, have criticized his policies, Mr. Goeglein tried to arrange for five Methodist bishops to meet the president. The bishops' travel schedules didn't mesh, but Mr. Goeglein has attended a church policy forum and the White House will host a group of visiting Methodist youth.
"I took a lot of heat at the policy forum," he says. "They disagree on some of the president's issues, but I stayed for an hour and a half to hear their concerns."
Relations with the "center-right coalition are very good," he says. "This is a conservative president."
Mr. Goeglein also may suggest whom the president might meet with on the road or in Washington, where visitors might get an issue briefing or visit with the president.
But when tough choices are made, the liaison hews to the president's priorities: taxes, education, national security, Social Security and Medicare reform, and the faith-based initiative. Mr. Bush "has raised that, and compassionate conservatism, to an official policy level," Mr. Goeglein says.
Recently, he shepherded a forum on the charitable choice topic. There, affiliates of Independent Sector, which represents charitable and nonprofit groups, aired their likes and dislikes about the Bush agenda.
The week before, Mr. Goeglein traveled to a National Religious Broadcasters gathering. And, he says, "I try not to go home at night until all the calls are answered."
One way he heads off a telephone logjam is to keep moving about Washington. Daily he may meet in hallways, eating places or backs of auditoriums with "10 or 15 people for things I'm working on."
Born to a Fort Wayne, Ind., family that ran a commercial painting family business, Mr. Goeglein at age 10 was tapped by a CBS affiliate to do a Saturday youth newscast, "News for Little People."
Westinghouse hired him through high school and university to do the same — interviewing media elites, astronauts, and political celebrities for its own radio station. Dan Quayle's congressional office noticed him and gave him an internship. After studying journalism and history at Indiana University, he joined Mr. Coats.
By then, Mr. Goeglein was an intellectual conservative, but hardly an isolated one. His parents had ethnic Macedonian and WASP roots, and his three siblings range from Catholic Democrat to converts to Judaism and Eastern Orthodoxy. He attends a Lutheran (Missouri Synod) church.
His wife, Jenny, a chemist, raises their two young children at home.
"I was raised in a family business that was seven days a week, 24 hours a day," he says. "There's not a lot of 'It's Friday night, five o'clock, so I'll think about that on Monday morning.'"

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