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Focus on the Game, Not the Team Picture

And Now for the Clinton Team

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is bringing in a well-connected foreign policy hand to serve under policy planning chief Anne-Marie Slaughter. Derek Chollet, who in 2004 was a foreign policy adviser to vice presidential candidate John Edwards and helped former secretaries of state James A. Baker III and Warren M. Christopher write their memoirs, will become deputy director of policy planning at the State Department.

Chollet is particularly close to veteran diplomat Richard C. Holbrooke, Obama's special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan, having served as his speechwriter at the United Nations. Most recently a senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security, Chollet will help Slaughter -- an academic from Princeton -- navigate Washington's policy world.

Clinton is also looking for an assistant secretary for public affairs. Candidates include two Clinton White House veterans. Calvin Mitchell, now executive vice president of communications at the New York Fed, was director of public affairs at the National Security Council and assistant press secretary at the Clinton White House.

Mary Ellen Glynn, now gone private at Pyramid Communications on the West Coast, had been spokeswoman for former U.N. ambassador Holbrooke, a spokeswoman at State and White House deputy press secretary. Also oft-mentioned is Doug Hattaway, a Hillary Clinton spokesman during the campaign who's developed a communications business in Boston.

One question the Clinton folks are sorting out is whether the assistant secretary also handles the daily briefings to keep the media at bay. If the spokesman is not part of the secretary's inner circle, then his utility is much reduced, and the jackals will seek other game. But that means they'll have to work harder, which makes them surlier. That's why media folks like the models set by insiders such as Margaret Tutwiler or James P. Rubin at State or Michele Davis at Treasury.

With Philip Rucker and Alice Crites

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