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Like his predecessors, he's at the President's elbow with a Sharpie pen for autographs. But sharing Bush's love for streamlined systems, he also developed a faster thank-you-note process. Gottesman collects artifacts for a future presidential library, down to the whistles Bush blows to start the White House Easter Egg Roll. Since it's hard for the President to receive mail, Gottesman takes to work the catalogs he receives at home so that when the two have downtime on Air Force One, the President can choose running shoes and fishing gear, which Gottesman then orders online.
The President sometimes barks at him just because he's there and can take it. At Bush's ranch, Gottesman, who makes $95,000 a year, sleeps in the senior-staff trailer, where he gets teased for his array of hair- and skin-care products in the shared bathroom.
Rove says that when Bush wants a staff member to follow up with a member of Congress, Gottesman not only conveys the message but also checks to make sure the loop has been closed. "People as a matter of course say, 'I better make certain Blake knows that I've finished that,'" Rove says. "The President and he think alike so much that he can literally go through and underline a new draft of the President's speech to hit the emphasis points in the way that the President would."
Gottesman will be succeeded by Jared Weinstein, 26, the chief of staff's aide for the past three years. The two are housemates and frequently carpool to the White House--after waking up around 4 a.m.