The Organization Man

Harold Ickes is helping the President get his act together and drive a harder bargain on health care

Meetings at the Clinton White House are informal affairs, beginning late and ending later. So when political consultant Paul Begala stumbled into an 8:30 a.m. health-care meeting last month just 14 minutes late, he was certain that he was right on time. Instead, the first thing he saw and heard was deputy chief of staff Harold Ickes close his notebook and say, "O.K., let's get to work." Dumbfounded, Begala rechecked his watch. "It said 8:44," he recalled. "I thought, 'Man, I like this guy!' Never before in the recorded history of the Clinton presidency has there even been a 14-minute meeting...

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