HONOLULU (AP) – President Barack Obama is considering naming former Commerce Secretary William Daley to a top White House job, possibly chief of staff, a person familiar with the matter said Monday.
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Daley, an executive at JPMorgan Chase, has extensive private sector experience, an attractive profile for the Obama administration, which has been looking to counter the notion that the president is antibusiness.
Obama’s first chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, resigned last year to run for Chicago mayor. Interim chief of staff Pete Rouse has been heading a staff review that is expected to lead to some shake-ups in the West Wing.
Daley is the brother of the Chicago mayor, Richard Daley, and was an adviser to Obama during his presidential bid.
The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly on the matter. The development comes as Obama eyes a reorganization of his senior leadership as he returns from a Hawaiian vacation and launches the next phase of his presidency. A new-look White House structure of people and portfolios, delayed before Obama’s holiday break by a frenetic year-end lawmaking session, is expected to unfold soon and spread over at least a few weeks.
Rouse, a respected troubleshooter in the White House, was chosen as interim chief of staff after the colorful and hard-edged Emanuel quit last fall. It has been expected that Rouse would stay on at least until the reorganization review – which he is leading – was complete, along with the president’s State of the Union address in late January and the release of Obama’s budget proposal in February.
But beyond that, Rouse has never relished the high-profile job as the top White House manager. He has been operating decidedly out of the spotlight. Those close to Obama say top aides are generally being asked to make their intentions known now if they want to change or leaves jobs – or be prepared to stay on for the rest of the term – so there is stability as Obama heads into his re-election bid.
Daley is the Midwest chairman of JPMorgan Chase.
As special counsel to President Bill Clinton, he coordinated the successful campaign to pass the North American Free Trade Agreement. He later served as commerce secretary to Clinton. In 2000, he coordinated the effort for permanent Normal Trade Relations with China, and he served as chairman of Vice President Al Gore’s presidential campaign.
Like Obama, he is from Chicago. And he is part of well-known Chicago political family.
The transition at the White House is about to pick up. David Plouffe, the architect of Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign, is expected to be in the White House as soon as next week as an adviser to the president. One of the president’s most trusted advisers, David Axelrod, is leaving this month; he is expected to take a break and recharge for a central role in the 2012 re-election campaign.
Daley’s consideration was first reported by Bloomberg News.
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