Carol Hatton has special incentive for following President-elect Barack Obama and his administration when they take office next month.
The Lawrence woman’s cousin — retired Marine Corps Gen. James Jones — will be one of Obama’s closest advisers. The former Marine commandant, NATO commander and special envoy for Middle East security was Obama’s choice for national security adviser.
“He told us he was never going to do another government job, but obviously he’s changed his mind,” Hatton said.
That doesn’t surprise Hatton, who sees Jones maybe a few times a year and stays in touch with him.
“I think it’s an opportunity of a lifetime,” Hatton said. “He has a great sense of patriotism.”
Hatton hasn’t had a chance to talk with Jones since Obama announced his selection.
“He’s probably pretty busy,” Hatton said. “I did write to him. I just congratulated him and said he’d made the family proud.”
Both Jones and Hatton had Marine traditions in their families. Jones’ father was in the Marines during World War II. Hatton’s father was a career Marine. Jones, 64, and Hatton exchanged families for a year when they were both seniors in high school.
“He had grown up in Paris, and I was having to move and go to a new high school anyway,” said Hatton, whose family was in Alexandria, Va., at the time. “He always wanted to live in the United States, so we agreed to switch for that one year.”
Hatton described Jones as charming and debonair and as having a good sense of humor. He also is a great family man, Hatton said. He and his wife, Diane, have four children.
One daughter, now grown, is severely mentally handicapped. Although she lives in a special home now, she was raised by her parents.
“They’ve been wonderful to her all these years,” Hatton said. “They still go get her and bring her home for weekends.”
Hatton has heard that Jones’ White House office will be down the hall from the president. She and her husband, Lawrence physician Dr. Donald Hatton, hope to visit. They wonder whether they’ll get invited to attend the ceremony when Jones takes the oath of office.
“Jim is really good about inviting family to ceremonies when he’s been promoted,” Carol Hatton said.