Has Jim Jones Lost His Clout?

Article excerpt

Byline: Holly Bailey; With Mark Hosenball

Where has Jim Jones been? As the White House navigated its response to the Iran crisis, President Obama's national-security adviser was nowhere to be seen. In fact, Jones was out of the country dealing with another thorny issue on Obama's plate: the conflict in Afghanistan and Pakistan. An administration official, who didn't want to be named discussing internal logistics, tells NEWSWEEK the trip had been in the works long before the surge of violence in Iran--and that Obama understood its importance and had encouraged Jones to not reschedule.

But Jones's absence at the height of what has been Obama's biggest foreign-policy crisis led to additional speculation about his clout. Some have suggested the former general hasn't been a good fit in Obamaland, a PR problem fueled, in part, by Jones himself. He has been perhaps the least--visible national-security adviser in more than a decade. While Condi Rice and Sandy Berger were highly interactive with the press and enjoyed close relationships with their bosses, Jones has ceded that ground largely to deputies Mark Lippert and Denis McDonough. Both campaign veterans, they're tight with Obama and are often with him during foreign trips and meetings with top leaders. …