Cheney Hires Mary Matalin

WASHINGTON - Famed GOP-leaning Beltway talker Mary Matalin is going to work for Vice president-elect Dick Cheney, the incoming administration said Friday.

Matalin's official title will be counselor to the vice president, Cheney said in a press release. The press release did not say whether Matalin would keep her television job; Matalin has served as co-host of CNN's political debate program, Crossfire, since July of 1999.

"Mary Matalin is an individual of great experience and stature, who I will
be honored to have playing an important role on my staff. Ms. Matalin has
earned respect and admiration from members of both parties. I have great
respect for her views and abilities,"
Cheney said in a release.

Ms. Matalin will be responsible for
providing advice to the vice president in a variety of areas including
communications, political strategy and coordination.

Matalin earned her bachelors degree from Western Illinois University.
She and her husband, James Carville, have two daughters: Matty and Emma.

Also Friday, USA Today reported that Lynne Cheney plans to return to a job at a Washington think tank and will serve on the board of two corporations after her husband is sworn in as vice president later this month.

"It wouldn't make sense that, having had a career for my entire life ... that somehow overnight I would turn into a pumpkin or something," she said in an interview published Friday.

Cheney said she would return to the boards of Reader's Digest and American Express Mutual Funds. However, her career plans could raise concerns about possible conflicts of interest.

Larry Makinson of the Center for Responsive Politics, a watchdog group that follows the connections between money and politics, noted that American Express "is a very politically sensitive company."

"The cleanest solution is to just get off the boards," he said.

A lawyer for the Bush-Cheney transition, David Addington, said the arrangement was legal and proper and said "marriage to an elected official shouldn't be a handicap or vow of seclusion."

The newspaper said Cheney, 59, will not return to two other corporate boards - defense contractor Lockheed Martin and Exide, a company that makes batteries. Cheney cited concerns about time, not possible conflict interests.

She took leaves of absence when her husband, Dick Cheney, became George W. Bush's running mate.

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