Utahn Laurie Snow Turner hasn't seen much of her new husband, all because of another man - George Herbert Walker Bush.
The day after she came off her honeymoon in November, she left her normal job as press secretary for Sen. Jake Garn, R-Utah, to begin a temporary assignment as press secretary for Bush's inauguration committee.But the day after that, Turner received a quick promotion - to chief of the communications department for the committee.
She's been working 15-hour days since, handling credentials for the 7,000 journalists covering the inauguration, deciding how many and which journalists may cover what events, overseeing writing a huge press guide book and fielding a seemingly endless series of questions from the press about the inaugural.
She always seems harried, always carries a portable telephone to handle emergencies and always seemingly has four or five people huddling close by waiting to ask questions or to report progress.
"My poor husband. He's been really good about it," Turner said in one of the quieter moments. "Not only did we just get married, we were also moving into a new house. My husband did all the moving himself. I literally woke up one morning at my old place, went to work and came home that night to our new house - he had moved everything."
But Turner said she has enjoyed her once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to build a major public relations operation from the ground up.
She said it started when a friend at the inaugural committee called and said it was looking for a press secretary. It sounded exciting, so Turner asked Garn if he would give her a leave. He did. Meanwhile, she went to Utah to get married.
"When I came off my honeymoon, I went to work at inaugural expecting to be the press secretary. But the next day, they said they had something else they wanted me to do - be head of the communications department."
It has three divisions, one to handle regular public relations and inquiries, one to handle production of the press guide book and one to handle press credentials. The department has about 30 employees and dozens of volunteers.
"We had to start everything from scratch. We literally did not have a typewriter or any computers. We didn't have a fax machine. We didn't have a list of addresses and phone numbers of the media," she said.
And the inauguration was only two months away. But she and her staff dug in, worked long hours and quickly organized the operation. "We usually have a staff meeting at 7:30 a.m. to plan the day, but I have to get in early to organize and take care of whatever was left over from the night before. We have another staff meeting at 6:30 p.m. or so to check on how well we did. Then we work the next several hours to follow up on what was not done. I try to leave about 10 p.m."
Much of her schedule includes accompanying Utahn Steve Studdert, the executive director of the inauguration, to his press interviews.
Turner said one of the toughest parts of her job so far has been trying to decide what members of the press can get tickets to which event.
"We got a list of each event and figured out how many reporters and photographers we could get to each on press stands. We found out we had 10 requests for every available position," she said. As expected, that brought howls from the press. "We tried to work around the situation as best as possible, for example, by encouraging TV stations owned by the same corporation to pool their coverage instead of sending several camera crews. We've asked large media organizations requesting credentials for hundreds of reporters to use only what they need."
She is using her position to get her husband and parents into a few events, such as the inaugural ball - but not as guests.
"They are going to have to work. They will help me check press credentials, that sort of thing. We've been careful not to give out free tickets," she said.
"Just a few more days, then this will all be over. Then maybe I can see my husband some more."
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