Bill Daley Resigning As Obama’s Chief Of Staff
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Updated 01/09/12 – 4 p.m.
WASHINGTON (CBS) – Chicagoan Bill Daley is stepping down as President Barack Obama’s chief of staff at the end of the month, after about a year as the president’s top aide.
Obama’s budget director, Jack Lew, will take Daley’s place.
In an announcement at the White House, Obama said Daley approached him last week and offered his resignation after returning from spending time with his family for the holidays. Daley told Obama, a fellow Chicagoan, that he wanted to spend more time with his family in Chicago.
The president said he asked Daley to reconsider, “But, in the end, the pull of the hometown we both love – a city that’s been synonymous with the Daley family for generations – was too great.”
Daley did not speak at Monday’s announcement and his letter of resignation simply said, “I have been honored to be a small part of your Administration. It is time for me to go back to the city I love.”
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On Daley’s suggestion, Obama offered the job to Lew, who accepted the promotion on Friday.
“Jack’s economic advice has been invaluable and he has my complete trust,” Obama said. “Jack has fought for an America where hard work and responsibility pay off; a place where everybody gets a fair shot, everybody does their fair share and everybody plays by the same rules.”
In announcing Daley’s resignation as chief of staff, Obama touted a number of accomplishments in Daley’s one year on the job.
“Bill has been an outstanding chief of staff during one of the busiest and most consequential years of my administration,” Obama said.
The president noted that he tapped Daley as his chief of staff just days before U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) was shot in a shooting spree in Tucson that left six people dead.
Also, on Daley’s first day in office, he took part in a meeting with Obama and top advisers to discuss al Qaida leader Osama bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan. “This was all before he even had time to unpack his office,” Obama said.
Months later, Navy SEAL Team Six raided that compound and killed bin Laden as Obama, Daley and other top White House officials monitored the raid from the White House.
Obama also said that Daley played a key role in major decisions about ending the war in Iraq and aiding the revolution in Libya that toppled dictator Muammar Gaddafi, as well as crafting the president’s American Jobs Act legislation, tax cuts and passing trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama.
It was no secret, though, that there had been problems, between Daley and Obama. Even though he was as much as Washington insider as any Chicagoan, serving as President Bill Clinton’s Commerce Secretary, Daley ruffled enough feathers in the Obama administration that, late last year, part of his duties were handed over to someone else.
But Obama said he would continue to rely on Daley’s advice, even after he returns to Chicago.
“No one in my administration has had to make more important decisions more quickly than Bill and that’s why I think this decision was difficult for me,” Obama said. “There is no question that I’m going to deeply miss having Bill by my side in the White House, but as he will soon find out, Chicago is only a phone call away and I’m going to be using that phone number quite a bit. I plan to continue to seek Bill’s advice and counsel on a whole range of issues in the months and years to come.”
Daley is staying on to help prepare for the State of the Union address and Lew is staying as budget director until the end of the month to help prepare the president’s budget plan before making the switch.
“He’s coming back home, and we’re delighted to have him back home,” political strategist Rick Jascula said. “But look, it is not everybody’s cup of tea. I know a lot of really smart, talented people at the top of their game who find the White House to be an exasperating experience.”
Daley was named chief of staff on Jan. 6, 2011, a few months after former chief of staff Rahm Emanuel stepped down to run for mayor of Chicago after Daley’s brother, former Mayor Richard M. Daley, announced he would not seek a record seventh term in office. Emanuel was elected mayor in February 2011 and took office in May.
“I’m very proud of my brother’s ongoing commitment to public service and to the people of this great country,” Richard Daley said in a written statement. “It is an honor for him to have been asked by the President to serve in his administration, and Bill remains grateful for the opportunity.”