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Obama names new US diplomatic media guru

US President Barack Obama has nominated Philip Crowley to be the new assistant secretary of state for public affairs, the media point person for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

The White House announced the nomination late Tuesday and State Department officials said Wednesday they had no details yet about when he would face Senate confirmation.

They also said it was unclear whether Crowley, who is better known by his initials P.J., would run the State Department's public affairs mostly from behind the scenes or would also give the daily briefings on camera.

State Department officials did not rule out that Ian Kelly, who has been the deputy assistant secretary of state for Europe and Eurasian affairs, would serve as the daily on-camera spokesman for Clinton.

If confirmed by the Senate, Crowley would replace Sean McCormack, who was the spokesman for secretary of state Condoleezza Rice for the last four years of president George W. Bush's term in office.

Robert Wood, the deputy assistant secretary of state for public affairs, served as McCormack's deputy in the last few months and has been the acting spokesman since Obama took office on January 20.

Wood's next position remains unclear.

Crowley has been director of homeland security at the Center for American Progress, a think tank in Washington. He authored a homeland security strategy called Safe at Home, the White House said.

Under the administration of president Bill Clinton, Crowley was special assistant to the president for national security affairs. He served as senior director of public affairs for the National Security Council.

Before that, he was principal deputy assistant secretary of defense for public affairs.

"In all, he served as a spokesman for the US government for 28 years, including three at the White House and 11 at the Pentagon," the White House said.

He is a retired Air Force colonel and veteran of operations Desert Storm, the US-led war that ousted Iraqi president Saddam Hussein's forces from Kuwait in 1991, and Provide Comfort, which sent relief to Iraqi Kurds the same year.

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Publication:AFP American Edition
Date:Apr 15, 2009
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