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William Daley to be Obama new White House Chief of Staff

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WASHINGTON--Former Commerce Secretary William Daley will be named on Thursday President Obama's new chief of staff, the Chicago Sun-Times has confirmed, replacing Rahm Emanuel who stepped down to run for Chicago mayor.

Daley, the Chicago-based Midwest chief of JP Morgan Chase will start his new job in a few weeks, a senior administration official said. Interim Chief of Staff Pete Rouse will be elevated to the position of counsel to the president.

Obama will make the official announcement 1:30 p.m Chicago time at the White House.

Daley met with Obama and others on Wednesday at the White House.

Rouse had been working on a White House reorganization for months and though he got high grades for stepping in after Emanuel left in October, "Pete didn't want to spend the next two years as chief of staff," the official said

Daley comes on board as the Obama team is ramping up for the 2012 re-election campaign; he brings to the table not only substantial corporate and government experience, but a long political portfolio: he ran former Vice President Gore's 2000 presidential campaign.

As part of the mid-term shake-up, Senior Advisor David Axelrod is returning to Chicago to help oversee the Obama 2012 campaign. Daley--as is Emanuel--has long been close to Axelrod, who advised Mayor Daley's campaigns.

Daley's appointment is also seen as a renewed hand out to the business community, whose relations with the White House need to be improved.

Emanuel, asked last week by Chicago reporters about the possibility of Daley taking his old job, said, "The most (important) thing here is what the President wants. This is outside of key members of the cabinet, the chief of staff is a key decision and the President has to make a decision where he feels that the person can give him the type of advice that‚s necessary and manage the White House and help think through the set of challenges and competing interests you have.

"Bill is a friend of mine. We worked together when I was in President Clinton's White House an he was in the cabinet and he stayed and remains a good friend of mine and he's quite capable. But, the most important thing is what the President wants from a chief-of-staff. And every President is different and, during their presidency, there are different things you would want out of a chief-of-staff. That is what's important˜what the President wants and what he envisions for that job.

Daley is a political centrist and a Wall Street veteran, the appointment of Daley may raise some concerns from the Democratic left. Adam Green, the co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, said the appointment was a "mistake" because Daley, Green asserted, urges Democrats to "pursue a corporate agenda."

William Michael Daley, 62, received his undergraduate degree from Loyola University and his law degree from John Marshall. He's been a vice chairman of Amalgamated Bank and a partner at Mayer Brown.

Daley joined the Clinton administration in 1993 as a special counsel to work--with Emanuel--on congressional passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement. Clinton named Daley Commerce Secretary in his second term. Clinton appointed Daley to the board of the Federal National Mortgage Association in 1993, a consolation prize for passing him over as transportation secretary during Clinton's first term.

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on January 6, 2011 10:45 AM.

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