WASHINGTON — David Gergen, the Republican who joined the Clinton Administration to help lift it out of the chaos of its first spring, has told White House officials he is discussing taking a teaching job at Duke University.
Sources said last week that Gergen was approached by Duke, where his father taught and with which he has long had ties, about teaching there in the fall.
Gergen said Saturday he has had such discussions but has not decided when he will leave the Administration. He said he told Duke he would not be available until the second semester of the next academic year.
Recruited last year after a series of public relations disasters dogged the White House, Gergen helped reorganize the communication efforts and brought a moderate, bipartisan policy argument to the Clinton White House table.
But in recent months, political infighting at the White House has left Gergen isolated, and his policy voice has been weakened, sources said.
Gergen said his discussions with Duke have "nothing to do with" internal White House operations or with any dissatisfaction on his part. Instead, he said, the discussions reflect his frequently expressed desire to stay out of the partisan politics that surround midterm elections and his initial sense that he was joining the Clinton team for an interim, helping-out period, not for a full term.