Rose Zamaria, a Key Player in the President’s ‘Inner Circle’

<i> from a Times Staff Writer</i>

In the context of the question--which was, “Why are there no women in your inner circle?"--she could hardly be described as the President’s right-hand man .

But Rose Zamaria has worked for Bush as his “right hand” for many years, starting when Bush served in Congress.

In addition to the other, more familiar women Bush listed in his Cabinet and in the White House, he called Zamaria--not exactly a household name--one of his “key people,” and described her as “tough as a boot.”

Zamaria does not make policy. She has been variously described as the White House “mother hen” or “keeper of the perks.” But, more accurately, she is Bush’s “gatekeeper” and executive assistant.


If someone wants to get to Bush, he or she must get through Zamaria.

“I would describe her as the gatekeeper and the right hand to the President,” said Dorothy Koch, Bush’s daughter. “She’s known him forever--she knows his style, his way, and who is important to my dad and who isn’t. Her office is right next to his office. She’s the person between him and everybody else.”

Zamaria could not be reached for comment.

“Everybody who comes in to see the President sees her first,” Koch added. “Or people who want to see the President make it their business to know her.”


Koch said Zamaria formerly ran the White House administration--overseeing the internal budget, food services and other related activities--but now serves as the President’s special assistant.

“She doesn’t do secretarial work,” Koch said. “She has her own secretary.”