- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 17, 2004


President Bush yesterday appointed Harriet Miers, a longtime Texas associate, as White House counsel.

Miss Miers succeeds Alberto Gonzales, nominated by Mr. Bush to be attorney general, said White House spokesman Scott McClellan.

“Harriet Miers is a trusted adviser, on whom I have long relied for straightforward advice,” Mr. Bush said.

“Harriet has the keen judgment and discerning intellect necessary to be an outstanding counsel,” the president said. “She is a talented lawyer whose great integrity, legal scholarship and grace have long marked her as one of America’s finest lawyers.”

Formerly Mr. Bush’s personal attorney in Texas, Miss Miers came to the White House as his staff secretary, the person in charge of all the paperwork that crosses the president’s desk. Miss Miers was promoted to deputy chief of staff in June 2003.

From 1995 to 2000, she was chairwoman of the Texas Lottery Commission. In 1992, she became the first female president of the Texas State Bar. She has been president of the Dallas Bar Association as well, becoming in 1985 the first woman in that post.

Miss Miers also has served as a member-at-large on the Dallas City Council. She earned her undergraduate and law degrees from Southern Methodist University in Dallas.

Miss Miers is often one of the first staff members to arrive at the White House in the morning and among the last to leave. She enjoys an especially close relationship with Mr. Bush, and she is sometimes the only woman on the brush-clearing excursions at his ranch in Crawford, Texas.

Mr. Bush rarely gave a speech during his re-election campaign in which he did not criticize trial lawyers. He sometimes allowed he needed an lawyer, though.

“Everybody needs a good lawyer. I’ve got too many, myself,” Mr. Bush said at a health care speech last month in Canton, Ohio.

Miss Miers’ appointment, which does not require Senate confirmation, underscores a pattern of appointments of Bush loyalists to key positions for his second term.

Earlier yesterday, Mr. Bush named Margaret La Montagne Spellings, with whom he has a decade-long history from Texas, to be secretary of education. Mr. Gonzales also is a fellow Texan and Bush confidant. Condoleezza Rice, his national security adviser and foreign-policy mentor, has been chosen to replace Secretary of State Colin L. Powell.

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