Washington — Though he could usually be seen carrying Ronald Reagan's garment bag to and from the campaign plane, Michael Deaver is far more than a political valet. The new White House deputy chief of staff serves a uniquely personal role for the President.
Mr. Deaver has been a Reagan loyalist since the early California governorship days in the 1960s. Described as dedicated to Mr. Reagan's career, he also is trusted by the new First Lady. He is among the first, and last, to see the President each day.
Deaver will report to chief of staff James A. Baker III. But he often will be found with Mr. Baker and presidential counselor Edwin Meese III in informal Oval Office sessions. Mr. Baker runs the White House operations, Mr. Meese develops and coordinates policy with the Cabinet, and Mr. Deaver helps mesh the work flow with the President's schedule and appointments.
Much of the pacing of the presidency will fall to the sensitive Deaver's hands. Deaver brings to his role a background in public relations. He headed a Los Angeles public relations firm, Deaver and Hannaford, between Reagan political jobs. His chief focus, some who know him say, is the President's image.
Deaver is attentive. Instead of huddling close to his patron to appear in news photos, he usually slips to the sideline, like a stage director closely watching the details of the show.
His quiet manner hides a flair for the spectacular. For weeks before the Republican National Convention last July, Deaver had been promoting the idea of a Gerald Ford vice-presidency, Republican sources say.