WASHINGTON — PRESIDENT Bush Monday named Agriculture Secretary Clayton Yeutter, who guided American farm policy for the last two years and trade policies for almost four years before that, to be Republican Party chairman. Mr. Yeutter, a wealthy lawyer and Nebraska farmer who brings little partisan political experience to the job, will be formally elected chairman of the Republican National Committee when its members meet here Jan. 25. He will replace the ailing Lee Atwater.
White House press secretary Marlin Fitzwater in announcing the appointment called Yeutter ``aggressive, outgoing, friendly,'' and said he will be a great debater in the coming campaign.
Yeutter accepted the post after the administration's former drug policy coordinator, William Bennett, rejected the job because of potential ethical conflicts with his plans of writing and speaking for fees.
Yeutter, who has years of agriculture, trade, and business experience and was president of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, assumes the post for two years at a $125,000 annual salary.
Not known as an ideologue, one of his first priorities may be to help heal wounds inflicted by the intraparty furor over Bush's abandonment of his ``no new taxes'' pledge in last year's budget battle.
Of Yeutter's relative lack of hands-on political experience, Mr. Fitzwater said: ``Wait and see. I think you're going to see a very strong speaker and strong debater who will be taking on the opposition party all over the country.''