In choosing Kenneth M. Duberstein as his new White House chief of staff, President Reagan has turned to a skilled parliamentary veteran in the tradition of retiring chief Howard H. Baker Jr.
Otherwise, the two men could hardly be more different.Duberstein, 44, is a peppery Brooklyn native with a gift for gab who was lobbying for the General Services Administration while Baker was building his reputation in the Senate as a Watergate interrogator.
Baker, 62, is a slow spoken Tennessean with a gift for compromise, widely credited with regrouping the White House staff after the Iran-Contra debacle but also criticized as too easygoing in the hot seat he inherited from Donald Regan.
Reagan announced Tuesday that Baker is resigning for personal reasons, effective July 1, and that Duberstein, his deputy, will succeed him.
"Duberstein's biggest problem is going to be that he doesn't have a Duberstein," said Tom Korologos, a Washington lobbyist with strong administration ties.
"Ken was the tactician, the strategist, the hands-on mover and shaker, and Baker thought deep thoughts," said Korologos.
Howard Liebengood, a longtime Baker aide in the Senate, said, "You've got to consider that this is Howard Baker's first experience being a staff person. He was always the principal, as senator from Tennessee and as minority and majority leader."
Duberstein, on the other hand, has been a staff person most of his life.
He started out in 1965, fresh out of Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Pa., as an intern for Sen. Jacob Javits, R-N.Y. He left Javits' staff as a research assistant in 1967 and returned to his alma mater for five years as assistant to the president.
From 1972 to 1976 he was director of congressional and intergovernmental affairs for the GSA, the landlord agency for the government.