His regular-guy, no-nonsense approach to the job has been a trademark of President Bush's three other OMB chiefs. Mitch Daniels is now governor of Indiana, Josh Bolten is Bush's chief of staff and a rock band leader, and Rob Portman, also an ex-congressman, kayaked. The Nussle difference: He's a battler who doesn't mind throwing a partisan punch, an effective tool with the president and Democrats battling over promised budget vetoes.
The fight is so hot that he's got little time for his "mental health" hobby: playing guitar. "I was in a band that impersonated the Blues Brothers," reveals Nussle. His role: John Belushi. He's eager for a new band, but Bolten hasn't invited him to join the Compassionates yet. "I think he must be a little snobby," jokes Nussle. "Maybe it could be that he plays a little bit older music."
By Paul Bedard