And Now, The Office Shuffle

Mack Mclarty may be too nice to be chief of staff, but he's not too nice to fight for prime office space. McLarty, shuffled aside in favor of Leon Panetta last week, still wants proximity to the Oval Office. That's touched off jockeying that is part Machiavelli, part Laurel and Hardy. One scenario has McLarty taking a room that is now the president's private dining room. But will Bill Clinton go that far to accommodate his childhood friend? Such a move would also miff top adviser George Stephanopoulos, who'd lose the one advantage of his closet-size office: its shortcut through the dining room to the Oval Office. Still, there's a second, worse possibility for Stephanopoulos: McLarty may grab his office. A third option: along with David Gergen's "counselor" title, McLarty will take Gergen's old space. it's roomy and windowed - but in the basement. (Gergen will move to the downscale Old Executive Office Building next door.) Last, aides say McLarty may take adviser Bruce Lindsey's office, bumping the fellow Arkansan into Gergen's former quarters.