RNC Chairman Taps Aide to Paxon: 2 Abortion Sides Hail Lieutenant

Article excerpt

The Republican National Committee's new chairman, Jim Nicholson, yesterday chose a conservative congressional aide as his chief of staff while Republicans on both sides of the abortion issue praised the new RNC co-chairman, Patricia Harrison.

Mr. Nicholson, 58, who was elected last Friday to succeed Haley Barbour, named Michael J. Hook his top deputy.

Mr. Hook, who got high marks from economic conservatives, was assistant manager for the Republican National Convention last summer and chief of staff to New York Rep. Bill Paxon when Mr. Paxon was chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee. "Michael's political savvy, his top-notch managerial experience and people skills will be tremendous assets," Mr. Nicholson said.

Mrs. Harrison, 57, a founding partner with her husband, E. Bruce Harrison, of an Arlington public relations firm, won the co-chairman's post on the third ballot in last Friday's elections for RNC officers.

"Patricia Harrison is articulate, pro-choice and the Democrats' worst nightmare," said Ann Stone, the chairman of Republicans for Choice. "If I were the RNC, I would put her out front to do most of the talking and debating, because it changes the dynamics of how the party is viewed."

Mrs. Harrison enjoys the support, however, of prominent pro-life Republicans, including Marilyn Quayle, 1994 Maryland gubernatorial candidate Ellen Sauerbrey and Oklahoma GOP Chairman Quineta Wylie, who has close ties to the Christian Coalition.

Mrs. Quayle, the wife of former Vice President Dan Quayle, congratulated Mrs. Harrison by phone yesterday, and former President George Bush had a private dinner with her last night.

Mrs. Sauerbrey, a staunchly conservative member who is preparing a second bid for governor next year, supported Mrs. …