E. Spencer Abraham, former Michigan GOP chairman and chief political operative for Vice President Quayle, was named yesterday to head the National Republican Congressional Campaign Committee, replacing Edward J. Rollins.
Moving Abraham, who spent nearly two weeks debating whether to take the job, was meant to ensure that the White House and the group that represents House Republicans are on speaking terms, a status rarely achieved in the two years the irreverent Rollins headed the NRCC.
Rollins said frequently that electing House Republicans, not pleasing the president, was his job and he frequently counseled Republicans to differ with the president if they had to do so to survive politically. The advice went unappreciated at the White House.
Abraham, who joined Quayle's staff a year ago, is expected to begin his new post March 1.
One GOP official described the move as another sign of the White House gearing up for the 1992 presidential election year, when interparty feuding and campaign operatives who will not hew to the party line are verboten.
No replacement for Abraham on Quayle's staff has been announced. As is normal in a third year of an administration, a number of slots are opening up on the vice presidential staff.
Carnes Lord, the vice president's national security adviser, is leaving for the private sector, reportedly a think-tank post. Jon Glassman, the deputy, has been nominated for an ambassadorship to Paraguay.
Administration officials said Karl D. Jackson, director of the Asian bureau at the National Security Council, is in line to replace Lord. He, in turn, is expected to be replaced by Douglas Paal, a deputy there.