Excerpt

[The following is taken from the Nov. 20, 2004, edition of The New York Times.]

Low-Profile Woman, High-Powered Job

By ELISABETH BUMILLER

Published: November 20, 2004

WASHINGTON, Nov. 19 - The woman President Bush appointed this week as White House counsel, Harriet Miers, is hardly known in Washington but has a history in Texas of handling years of scandal at the state's lottery commission. The president, who once retained her as his personal lawyer, described her in 1996 as "a pit bull in Size 6 shoes."

Those attributes should help her in a new job that requires her to advise Mr. Bush not only on national security and military law - a large part of the counsel's responsibilities since Sept. 11, 2001 - but also on continuing legal investigations, including an inquiry into who in the administration leaked the name of a C.I.A. undercover officer.

"She's the kind of person you want in your corner when all the chips are being played," said one friend, Joseph M. Allbaugh, former director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency. "She will give the president advice unvarnished, and that's exactly what he wants."

Ms. Miers, 59, currently serves as deputy chief of staff for policy and assistant to the president. She has rarely, if ever, talked to reporters since arriving in Washington in 2001, and she declined a request for an interview on Friday.

But her history, and comments from friends, suggest that she is the kind of woman, like Karen P. Hughes and Condoleezza Rice, whom Mr. Bush likes on his staff: tough, direct and intensely loyal. Her appointment reflects the president's determination to promote longtime members of his inner circle to critical positions for his second term.

"Harriet Miers is a trusted adviser on whom I have relied for straightforward advice," Mr. Bush said in a statement released this week. "Harriet has the keen judgment and discerning intellect necessary to be an outstanding counsel."

Ms. Miers, who is unmarried, was born and raised in Dallas, one of five children whose father was in the real estate business. She graduated from Southern Methodist University and its law school, then went to work in Dallas for Locke Purnell Rain Harrell. In 1985 she became the first woman to be president of the Dallas Bar Association, and in 1992 the first woman to be president of the Texas State Bar.

 

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