Josh Bolten, meet Josh Bolten

Is Bush's new chief of staff an Ivy League braggart or just one of the guys?

By Tim Grieve
April 24, 2006 11:02PM (UTC)
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If Josh Bolten wants a lesson on how far the once mighty White House message machine has fallen, he need look no further than the ways in which Time and Newsweek are describing ... Josh Bolten.

Karl Rove and Co. have always managed to portray their born-to-privilege, Ivy League-educated client as a brush-clearin', back-slappin' man of the people. If the White House is trying that approach with Bolten, it doesn't seem to be working, at least not always.


Newsweek got the talking points: "No matter how powerful he grew inside the Bush White House," the magazine says as it begins its report on Bolten's White House plans, "Josh Bolten always came off as just one of the guys, a smart, hardworking wonk who ducked publicity and rewarded his staff with a night at the bowling alley."

But it seems that somebody forgot to tell Time: "At the George W. Bush campaign headquarters in Austin, Texas, in 1999, policy director Josh Bolten was a low-key Washingtonian in a building full of brash Texans," the magazine says as it begins its report on Bolten's White House plans. "He assembled a best-and-brightest team with resumes bristling with brand names like his own -- Princeton, Stanford, Goldman Sachs. 'He used to brag that he had all these Supreme Court clerks from Harvard working for him,' recalled a campaign veteran."

Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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