He's been called the Cufflink Bearer or the Official Companion. But Tim McBride's actual title since Inauguration Day has been special assistant to the president.

When McBride leaves the White House to join the Commerce Department this summer, President Bush will be in the market for a new personal aide, a post that has as much day-to-day access to the president as any. At the same time it has the most anonymity of any job in the White House.

McBride, 31, is basically in charge of taking care of the bothersome details of Bush's official life.

He makes sure the tuxedo is on the plane when Bush is going off on a trip that includes a formal event. He hovers in the background at all Bush's meetings, notecards or speeches in his hand to make sure the president has the right notes for the right event. His pockets are filled with presidential trinkets such as George Bush pens and George Bush tie clasps for the president to hand out to well-wishers. He is the one who moves from the back of the wall to the president's side to signal it is time for Bush to move to the next event.

McBride offered Bush what all presidents want of such aides -- well-mannered unobtrusiveness and total discretion. Virtually no one knows who he is and he has never been known to tell the media anything more than his name. He followed in the footsteps of two other Bush personal aides with the same modus operandi: David O. Bates, who moved on to be cabinet secretary in the White House, a senior policy position, and Joseph W. Hagin, now in charge of the president's scheduling operation.

A White House official said the president sees the post as an "upwardly mobile one," tailor-made for someone who is starting a career in Washington and wants to get the world's best firsthand look at the White House before moving on. Bush is said to be leaning toward a military person in the post. Twice while he was vice president he had military aides for brief periods.