Yesterday was Karen Hughes’ last day as White House counselor. Her departure has led to a lot of nervous speculation about who will fill her shoes (famously so large that she has to buy them in an Austin store that caters to transvestites). A much more urgent question is who will move into Hughes’ office, a corner suite on the second floor with a lovely view of Pennsylvania Avenue. As mansions go, the White House is not all that big, and much of it is swallowed up by ceremonial rooms and a family residence. Hughes’ office, however, is quite spacious, and as of today, it sat empty.
National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, who displaced Hughes as Most Influential White House Female after the events of Sept. 11, is unlikely to move in because her current digs are just a few steps from the Oval Office. The most logical candidate to move into Hughes’ office is Dan Bartlett, the White House communications director. Bartlett is assuming many of Hughes’ responsibilities and already occupies the small office next door. But Karl Rove is rumored to have his eye on Hughes’ office, too, which could possibly lead to a tawdry power struggle. Clearly, it was a mistake not to resolve the real estate issue before Hughes shoved off. How could Chief of Staff Andy Card let this happen? This is supposed to be the part of the job he’s good at!