Washington Prowler

Now Hear This

A Clinton appointee's static on Bush Radio. Plus: Don Evans comes into his own.

By 6.9.03

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RADIO BUG
Norman Pattiz has been one of the most visible Clinton holdovers working in the Bush Administration. Never heard of him? No reason you should have. But as a board member of the agency that oversees such entities as Radio Free Europe, Radio Marti and the station that beams the American perspective into the Persian Gulf, he's perhaps the most influential Democrat in Washington. And evidently he wants to stay that way.

While Pattiz hasn't given a dime to President Bush, he has spread his money around to just about every Democratic presidential candidate, perhaps in hopes he can hold on to his job at the radio stations. It's not like he doesn't have a day job. Pattiz is the CEO of Westwood One Radio, the second biggest national radio network and developer of programming. Thus he has cut checks totaling $9,000 to Sen. John Edwards, Howard Dean, Dick Gephardt, John Kerry and Joe Lieberman.

Pattiz is said to be thorn in the side of the scant Republicans working on the international broadcasting board, as well as a glory hound for the hard work of the Bush Administration. During the early stages of Operation Iraqi Freedom, Pattiz made sure he was the star of a CBS News report on how the Bush Administration was attempting to improve America's image in the Middle East through radio broadcasts.'

"You'd think he was a Bush guy," says a Republican Senate Foreign Relations Committee staffer, which has oversight over the broadcasting board. "But he's a liberal Democrat. He is someone we should have to worry about. When his term is up, Bush should push him out."

Pattiz, apparently is banking -- literally -- on the Democrats pulling off the 2004 upset to save his job on the side.

DAILY EVANS
Secretary of Commerce Don Evans is one of President George W. Bush's best friends. He helped engineer the bold fundraising and campaign financing model for the 2000 race that is once again revving up across the country. And he has helped get the President victories on Capitol Hill of late. Evans, in short, is becoming the heavy lifter everyone thought he would be out of the gates of the administration.

But Evans really came into focus during the fight over the recent Bush economic stimulus package. While others tried to keep House Ways and Means chairman Bill Thomas and Senate leaders in line, Evans lined up businesses big and small for their support and kept the private sector backers pushing the tax cut issues with the grassroots. Evans was also responsible for pointing the White House in which locales to hold their high profile events across the country. "Those routinely led the evening news, and they played well just about every time," says a White House political staffer. "Evans was the background doing a solid job for us."

So it shouldn't have been a surprise when Evans was standing behind the President at the signing of the tax cut bill. Nor will it be a surprise to see Evans playing an increasingly high profile role in the coming months. It's expected that the White House, with support from Republicans in both houses, will attempt to make another run at tax cuts and perhaps yet another swipe at the death tax. Regardless of what they attempt to do, look for Evans to be a much more visible player on the Hill and on the stump for the president.

"Unlike Clinton, we're not going to put our Treasury Secretary out there to raise a ton of money from Wall Street," says the White House source. "We're not going to be holding coffees with [John] Snow there. Evans is going to be our face and our key guy in getting businesses and businessmen behind us."

While the Treasury secretary won't be Rubin-esque, he won't be totally invisible. Already, he's been slated to appear at several fundraisers for Republican highrollers. But soon Snow will disappear, leaving Evans holding up the money bag.

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