Margaret Tutwiler, the U.S. ambassador to Morocco and a veteran of White House and State Department communications operations, has been asked to run the Bush administration's campaign to improve the nation's global image, sources said yesterday.

If President Bush decides to fight a war against Iraq, Tutwiler would be stepping into office just as a difficult sales job grew still harder. A central mission of the office, which is part of the State Department, is to project a benevolent image of the United States, particularly to the Muslim world.

Tutwiler, who served briefly in 2001 as a White House adviser to President Bush, is a longtime assistant to former secretary of state James A. Baker III, working as a communications and political adviser during his globetrotting years as the country's chief diplomat, as well as in Florida after the November 2000 election.

"She's super-competent. She's been here before. The secretary knows and respects her," an aide to Secretary of State Colin L. Powell said yesterday, noting that Tutwiler's experience in the Middle East could prove valuable. Tutwiler could not be reached for comment.

Tutwiler would replace Charlotte Beers, who resigned the top job in the State Department's public diplomacy office for health reasons two weeks ago.

An insider in Washington and Republican politics, in contrast to Beers, Tutwiler toiled for the Bush family in 1978, when she signed up with George H.W. Bush in his first campaign for the White House. She worked alongside Karl Rove, who has become George W. Bush's chief political adviser.

After spending 1995 to 2000 in private business, she returned to the White House for nearly six months before being sworn in as ambassador to Morocco in July 2001.