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Former Gray Davis advisor takes new job with first lady

“He’s a friend, but…” That seems to be the common refrain from Democrats
after veteran political advisor Daniel Zingale took a job as California
First Lady Maria Shriver’s chief of staff last week.

So what is a top Democratic professional doing in a Republican
administration, taking a job that would seem to have more to do with charity
auctions than setting policy?

Zingale, 45, characterized the new job as a positive opportunity to work on
the kinds of things that “Republicans and Democrats agree about.” He cited
issues such as children’s health and goodwill missions to foreign countries.
“The calls and e-mails I’ve gotten so far have been supportive and
enthusiastic,” Zingale said.

But one of the things Republicans and Democrats seem to agree about is that
they’re uncomfortable with the appointment. Republicans have given tepid
support at best.

Meanwhile, Democrats said Zingale is too smart and too capable to be headed
in without a plan. What that plan was, though, they weren’t quite sure.

“I think Daniel believes he can influence administration policy by giving
Maria a voice in the administration that she hasn’t had,” said Steve
Maviglio, a former colleague on Davis’ staff, now deputy chief of staff for
Assembly Speaker Fabian Nu

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