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Monday, January 9, 2012

White House Chief of Staff Resigns

Lew To Take The Reins

President Obama announced today that White House Chief of Staff William Daley is moving on to 'different' pastures.

The COS has resigned citing he will 'spend more time with family', but reports indicate Daley will also serve as co-chair of president's Chicago-based re-election efforts.  He will be replaced later this month by former OMB director, Jack Lew.

Said President Obama in a late afternoon announcement in the State Dining Room, "Obviously this was not easy news to hear.  And I didn’t accept Bill’s decision right away.  In fact, I asked him to take a couple of days to make sure that he was sure about this.  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.  Bill told me that he wanted to spend more time with his family, especially his grandchildren, and he felt it was the right decision."

Daley replaced former chief of staff Rahm Emanuel who resigned last year to become mayor of Chicago.

News of the Daley resignation comes on the heels of a book (out this week) by author Jodi Kantor who suggests, among other things, that Daley had little experience running President Obama's administration. The book, titled The Obamas, also points to Rahm Emanuel having sparring-like situations with First Lady Michelle Obama, who is seen as the wife with a vested interest in her husband such that she, too, suggested changes needed to be made in her husband's personnel. 

The White House, today, shrugged off these claims.

White House press secretary, Jay Carney, said today in a White House briefing, "Again, I think that books like these generally over-sensationalize things. I know some people groan a little bit when I do this, but I've covered a couple of White Houses myself, and the fact of the matter is I've been here all three years, although not in this position. The atmosphere and collegiality here is much better than any of the White Houses I've covered. And that's been the case from day one here and continues to be the case."

Daley and Emanuel aren't the only top brass personnel from the Obama administration to resign from their positions.

Among resignees, former White House press secretary, Robert Gibbs, who also expressed the need to 'spend more time with family'. In the book, The Obamas, Gibbs was cited as having issues with the First Lady to the point that he cursed at Mrs. Obama.

When asked today about the incident Carney answered, "But these are high-pressure jobs.  There's always a lot at stake.  And the commitment the people show to the President, to the First Lady, and to the causes that brought them here is fierce.  And sometimes that intensity leads people to raise their voices or have sharp exchanges.  But the overall picture is one of remarkable collegiality and a genuine focus."

That focus, 2012 Campaign aside, continues to be on jobs creation and strengthening the economy.

"So there is no question that I’m going to deeply miss having Bill by my side here at the White House", said President Obama. "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." 
Of the new Chief of Staff, the president said, "And here in Washington, I have every confidence that Jack will make sure that we don’t miss a beat and continue to do everything we can to strengthen our economy and the middle class and keep the American people safe."   

It will be interesting to see, should President Obama reach a second term, how long it will be before Lew, too, will want to 'spend more time with family'.

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