Byline: Stephen Dinan and Joseph Curl, THE WASHINGTON TIMES
White House staff changes are coming soon, the president's spokesman said yesterday, after new Chief of Staff Joshua B. Bolten met with senior employees and told them to prepare for changes.
Press secretary Scott McClellan said it is "time for a little bit of a fresh start" for the administration, adding that Mr. Bolten told the staffers that anyone planning to leave before the end of the year should resign now, so the administration can get its team in place for the stretch run.
Mr. McClellan said that nobody in the meeting announced plans to quit and that the announcement is not a sign the administration is changing course on policy.
"Josh talked about how this will refresh and re-energize the team and for all of us to renew our commitment as we go forward," Mr. McClellan said.
Mr. Bolten took over from former chief of staff Andrew H. Card Jr. on Friday. Yesterday was his first full weekday on the job. Republican strategists and staffers on Capitol Hill said his early action showed that he is taking control of the White House, and they were encouraged by the call for revitalization.
"Many members would like to see an aggressive White House with some fresh faces and new energy," said one Republican aide.
President Bush has been stung recently by complaints from Congress that he has a tin ear and that his legislative affairs staff doesn't coordinate well with members. Mr. Bolten already has taken steps to reach out to Congress, calling 30 members the day after he was named to the new post.
Mr. Bush has given Mr. Bolten a free hand to restructure the White House staff. The president is fighting to keep driving his policy agenda through 2008, even as attention turns to the 2006 congressional elections and the 2008 presidential primaries.
Mr. Bolten already is looking to fill his old slot as director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), and Mr. McClellan said more changes are on the way.
"I would expect some other announcements soon," he said. …