All The President's Men.....

.... are hired by this woman.

As President Bush puts the finishing touches on his second-term team, one of the most powerful – and purposely least known – White House figures in that effort is a 31-year-old Egyptian-born woman who is the administration’s chief headhunter and recruiter.

When I recruit people I say, ‘You don’t want to be on the sidelines when the president accomplishes the agenda he was re-elected on,’ ” she said. “And I tell them, ‘When that’s happening, you want to be on his team.’ 

Powell, the youngest person ever to hold her job, is an immigrant and the highest-ranking Mideastern American in the White House.

She admits that the hours are long and that she sometimes rushes home to have dinner with her family before returning to the White House to finish the day’s work. Few of the 4,000 presidential appointees left the administration during Bush’s first term, but some are leaving now, requiring successors. Even as the vacancies are filled, she is aware that more will soon be leaving, a never-ending conveyor belt of personnel changes.

Observers who have spent their lives watching the presidential personnel process give her high marks for running a professional headhunting operation and for being conscientious about reflecting the president’s preferences.

“She has gone about this in a very business-like way, drawing on the best practices that top search firms use,” said Patricia McGinnis, president and CEO of the Council for Excellence in Government, a nonpartisan, nonprofit group of former government executives. “I have been impressed.”

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