ENTER THE ALTER EGO

CLINTON'S NEW CHIEF OF STAFF HAS A SPECIAL BOND WITH THE PRESIDENT. BUT IS THAT ENOUGH FOR THE JOB?

When Bill Clinton first came to Washington in 1993, he brought his kindergarten friend Mack McLarty with him as his right hand. That didn't work out very well. Four years later, his new chief of staff, Erskine Bowles, is a man he first met in 1992, and bonded with so close, so fast that even Bowles' admirers have to reach deep into the couch for an explanation. Bowles, says a White House aide, is what a 10-year-old Clinton would have considered a successful real grownup: "He has money, real self-assurance, he knows what he is in the world, and has class."...

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