Every participant has a role at the weekly White House political meetings.
Vice President Al Gore, for one, is the second principal in the room and presides when the president has to duck out. Bob Squier, the chief media consultant, sits closest to Gore, for whom he has worked for years, and is viewed as the reigning advertising maven.
Mickey Kantor, the commerce secretary, noted that at 56 he is the most senior participant. "I'm the old man," he said.
Kantor, who was chairman of Clinton's 1992 campaign, said that he and his predecessor, the late Ron Brown, who had been chairman of the Democratic Party, viewed their roles at the meetings as lending context.
"Our job is to give some perspective," he said. "I've had good ideas and bad ideas in politics."
Dick Morris, the president's chief outside strategist, is known for rapid-fire suggestions that are roundly criticized at first _ but sometimes praised later. As a consultant who switch-hits politically, he is considered best at explaining the Republican mind-set. "It's very useful to have someone with a wholly different point of view," said Ann Lewis, the deputy campaign manager.
Harold Ickes, a deputy White House chief of staff, offers a more dependably liberal point of view.
Leon Panetta, the White House chief of staff and a former congressman, provides a reality check on how to mesh politics with policy. Sen. Christopher Dodd of Connecticut lends his advice based on his perspective in Congress and as general chairman of the Democratic Party.
Henry Cisneros, the housing secretary, brings a perspective from the Hispanic community and from his extensive travels around the country.
Lewis and Peter Knight, the campaign manager, are the links to the campaign. And Samuel Berger, the deputy national security adviser, is the foreign policy expert.
Except for Kantor, Ickes, George Stephanopoulos, the president's senior adviser, and Thomas McLarty III, the presidential counselor, it is a different cast of players from the 1992 campaign.
Those who no longer have a role include pollster Stanley Greenberg, media consultants Frank Greer and Mandy Grunwald, strategist Paul Begala and former Democratic Party chairman David Wilhelm.
Strategist James Carville may be involved later.