At 4-Feet-8, Harvard Economist Reich Sensed He Was on Clinton’s Short List

<i> From Associated Press</i>

Harvard economist Robert Reich, newly named as labor secretary for the incoming Administration, wisecracked Friday that he had “assumed for months that I was on Bill Clinton’s short list.”

No one missed his joke. Reich stands 4-feet-8.

He was shorter than the microphone set up at a news conference where Clinton announced a second wave of high-level appointments.

Turning toward another member of Clinton’s team, Reich said, “Donna, you were on the short list, too.” He was referring to diminutive Donna Shalala, the University of Wisconsin chancellor picked to lead the Department of Health and Human Services.


When she stepped up to the microphone, she said that Alice Rivlin, another less-than-towering woman who was named as deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget, had called her and warned, “Make sure they get a step.”

The step was there, and Clinton pulled it out for her.

Shalala joked, “I’m actually delighted to be joining the newest caucus in the executive office of the President, the Rivlin-Reich-Stephanopoulos-Shalala Short Caucus.” She was including Clinton’s communications chief, George Stephanopoulos, in the group.

The Short Caucus will not include Carol Browner, a tall environmental official from Florida who will run the Environmental Protection Agency.

“I am not a member of the Short Club set,” she declared.