WASHINGTON -- At the behest of President Bush, members of the Republican National Committee Saturday unanimously elected political consultant Richard Bond chairman of the Republican National Committee, replacing Clayton Yeutter.
Yeutter, 62, will become counselor to the president and head of a newly created White House Domestic Policy Coordinating Group and will have cabinet status.
The president dropped by a RNC reception Friday evening at the Capitol Hilton Hotel to anoint Bond, 41, who has worked in Bush campaigns for the last 10 years, and to announce the Yeutter appointment. The 160 members of the committee elected Bond at the conclusion of its three-day annual winter meeting.
White House press secretary Marlin Fitzwater, who relayed the appointments to reporters Friday said Bond will take a leave of absence from his consulting firm.
Under the new setup, the Domestic Policy Committee and the Cabinet Economic Policy subcommittee, headed by Treasury Secretary Nicholas Brady, are being consolidated into one Domestic Policy Coordinating Group.
Brady, who had resisted moves putting Yeutter in charge of economic policy at the White House and diminishing his own role in that field, will remain as the president's 'chief economic spokesman,' Fitzwater said.
Fitzwater said the new policy coordinating group will be chaired by Bush and operated by Yeutter.
Yeutter served for two years in the Bush cabinet as Secretary of Agriclture and was U.S. Trade Representative in the Reagan administration. Fitzwater stressed his expertise in a variety of domestic issues.
With the presidential election in mind, the White House shifts are part of the shakeup that the White House staff has been undergoing since Samuel Skinner become chief of staff, succeeding John Sununu.
Yeutter served as chairman of the GOP committee for one year, taking over the position in 1991 after Lee Atwater died of a brain tumor.
Bond has been active in Republican affairs for many years and was deputy chief of staff to Bush for a couple of years when Bush was vice president.
'The chief of staff is making a number of changes to strengthen the organization and management of the White House to bring in some fresh perspectives and insights into the various problems we have to face, and hopefully get an efficient operation as we head into the last 10 months of this first administration,' Fitzwater said. He indicated the major appointments have now been made.
There had been rumors that Yeutter was not aggressive enough for some of the party members, but responding to a question, Fitzwater said, 'No, he was an outstanding chairman, that's why we're bringing him into the White House.'
Asked if it was a powerful position, Fitzwater said it was 'important,' noting 'we've got some difficult issues to deal with in the economy, education agriculture and a number of areas that Yeutter has a lot of experience in. 'We look to him for dynamic leadership,' he added.