Bush's 'Body Man' Leaves White House

ByABC News via logo
June 16, 2006, 8:10 AM

June 16, 2006 — -- It's been a great week for President Bush, but there's been at least one dark cloud: One of his closest aides is leaving the White House this week.

Blake Gottesman is leaving to attend Bush's alma mater, Harvard School of Business. Gottesman has no undergraduate degree, but in rare cases, the school makes exceptions.

Gottesman, 26, has been the president's personal aide for more than four years and gets more face time with Bush than the vice president or White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove.

He is sometimes called the president's "body man" or the "two-minute man" because he lets the media know the president is about to arrive.

"It's a daunting responsibility," Rove said. "You're a personal aide to the leader of the free world."

Like "The West Wing" presidential aide Charlie Young -- played by Dule Hill -- Gottesman is rarely more than a few feet from the president. Even in Baghdad earlier this week he was there in uniform.

Gottesman briefly dated first daughter Jenna Bush when the two were in high school. Then, he dropped out of college to work for her dad. He's known for his ability to adapt -- when he's on the ranch he pulls on the cowboy boots.

As Bush's body man, Gottesman carries everything from speeches to breath mints to hand sanitizer to the president's dog Barney. And of course, he carries the all-important bag.

"There are always things being added to the bag and then taken away," said Logan Walters, Bush's former personal aide. "There was trail mix for a little while, and then that went out the window because we had so much trail mix we had it coming out of our ears."

It's not a job for those with weak backs.

"I think that bag weighs 80 pounds or so," Rove said. "I think if you were special forces, with 80 pounds of equipment and weapons, you might get in the Blake Gottesman mode."

The job has given Gottesman incredible access to the commander in chief.

"Think about this: This is a 26-year-old kid and the president of the United States is turning to him and saying, 'What do you think?' That's a pretty remarkable testament to his judgment and maturity and his mind."

ABC News' Jessica Yellin reported this story for "Good Morning America."