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Williams takes Solis Doyle’s job with Clinton campaign

By A. James Memmott

February 11, 2008 at 4:55pm

Maggie Williams has been part of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s political life for years, often behind the scenes.

She moved onto center stage Sunday, becoming Clinton’s campaign manager as the senator from New York seeks the Democratic presidential nomination.

Williams replaces Patti Solis Doyle, who just a month ago seemed to have secured her job by helping Clinton win the New Hampshire primary.

“Maggie Williams is renowned as the ultimate Hillary loyalist, fierce and unwavering in her devotion,” wrote Thomas M. DeFrank of New York’s Daily News.

And this may be a time when loyalty, devotion and street smarts are in demand, as the Clinton campaign isn’t doing as well as expected.

Super Tuesday ended in a draw between Clinton and Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill. After that, Obama kept beating Clinton in primaries and caucuses.

In addition, Clinton’s fund-raising has slowed, and Clinton has had to lend her own campaign $5 million.

Hillary Clinton and Williams, 53, first met when Williams was communications director for the Children’s Defense Fund in the 1980s.

Before that, Williams had worked for Rep. Morris K. Udall, D-Ariz. She had also been the deputy press secretary for the Democratic National Committee and a press secretary for then Rep. Robert Torricelli, D-NJ.

Williams was a media adviser to Hillary Clinton during the 1992 presidential campaign.

She then served as both an assistant to President Bill Clinton in his administration and as chief of staff to Hillary Clinton while she was first lady. Williams was the first African-American to be a chief of staff to a first lady.

While chief of staff, Williams was part of the damage control team that responded to the Whitewater allegations. Inevitably, she was swept up into the controversy.

Williams was accused of removing files from the office of Deputy White House Counsel Vince Foster after his suicide. She denied doing this and passed two lie detector tests.

Williams also faced heat for giving Democratic donor Johnny Chung access to the White House. He was later convicted of bank fraud and tax evasion.

Williams left the White House in 1997 and moved to Paris, where she was a communications consultant. In 2000, she became president of Fenton Communications, a Washington-based firm.

Later, she served as chief of staff of the former President Clinton’s Harlem office.

She then became a partner in Griffin Williams Critical Point Management. She also helped Hillary Clinton in her successful re-election campaign to the Senate in 2006.

In January, Williams joined Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign as an adviser.

Solis Doyle said Sunday in a statement that she will continue to serve the campaign as a senior adviser. She also said she would travel with the candidate “from time to time.”

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