President-elect Bush is rounding out the top ranks of his administration by nominating retired Adm. James D. Watkins as energy secretary and former Education Secretary William J. Bennett as drug czar, transition and congressional sources said Thursday.
Bush was to announce the selections at a news conference a few hours before holding a late-afternoon dress-rehearsal meeting of his Cabinet at Blair House, the historic residence across from the White House."He will talk about what he expects of them, what his priorities are, what's important," Sheila Tate, Bush's transition press secretary, said of the first gathering of the president-elect's top appointees.
Sources who declined to be identified confirmed that Watkins, formerly the Navy's top uniformed officer, would be tapped for the energy post and that Bennett would get the job of coordinating the government's war on drugs.
CBS News first reported on Watkins' selection, and The New York Times had disclosed Bennett's new role.
Bush had a hard time filling both jobs, the last top-level posts that were vacant. Aides suggested that he vacillated on the energy post between an oil-state candidate and one with experience in nuclear energy.