WASHINGTON, June 14 (UPI) -- Lobbyist Edward W. Gillespie, a former GOP National Committee chairman, Wednesday was named by President George Bush to be his third White House counselor.
The selection of Gillespie, known for his long-standing relationships with congressional Republicans, to the key advisory job is a departure for Bush, who dipped into the Texas pool of political talent the last two times he filled the post, first with Karen Hughes and then Dan Bartlett.
Bush, who met Gillespie eight years ago, called him "a good strategic thinker," The Washington Post reported Thursday. "He's a seasoned hand who has got excellent judgment," the president said.
Gillespie, 45, has a reputation for being a tough political operative who consistently sticks to the party line in public. His hiring indicates Bush intends to try to shore up GOP support as he tries to push through legislative initiatives in his final 18 months in office, the newspaper said.
White House spokesman Tony Snow said Gillespie "is obviously not going to have the same kind of tight, personal relationship with the president, although he's going to have full access and they are friendly, but that kind of a personal relationship is not something you can duplicate."