Daley departure indicates shift in strategy

January 10, 2012

By Aamer Madhani, and Richard Wolf, USA Today

WASHINGTON – President Obama announced the abrupt resignation of White House Chief of Staff William Daley on Monday, a momentous shakeup in his administration that comes as his re-election effort heats up.

Jack Lew, director of the Office of Management and Budget, will replace Daley later this month after he completes work on the 2013 budget. Lew, 56, served as OMB director in President Bill Clinton‘s administration and as a top deputy to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. He also served from 2006-08 as a top executive at Citibank.

Daley told Obama last week of his decision to step down from the post, which he held for less than a year. The president initially refused his resignation and asked him to reconsider.

“There is no question that I’m going to deeply miss having Bill by my side here at the White House,” Obama said. “And here in Washington, I have every confidence that Jack will make sure that we don’t miss a beat.”

Lew will be Obama’s third chief of staff as he enters his fourth year in office, not includingPete Rouse, a White House counselor who served as acting chief before Daley took the job. By contrast, George W. Bush had only two staff chiefs in eight years. Clinton andRonald Reagan had four over eight years.

Daley, 63, who remains at the White House until after the president delivers his State of the Union speech later this month, will be named a co-chairman of Obama’s re-election campaign, according to a senior campaign official who requested anonymity because the campaign has yet to officially announce the appointment.

Daley, a Commerce secretary in the Clinton administration, a JP Morgan Chaseexecutive and the son and brother of Chicago’s two longest-serving mayors, said that he wanted to return to the Windy City to spend more time with his family. But his departure was presaged by the transfer of some of his duties to Rouse late last year.

“This year has been one of great challenge for the American people,” Daley wrote in his resignation letter to Obama. “You have tried mightily to bring our longer term fiscal problems under control and have made Americans aware and supportive of a balanced approach to solving this most important of issues facing America.”

The shakeup represents a 180-degree turn from what Obama needed a year ago, after Republicans had won control of the House and made gains in the Senate. Then, he was under pressure to work with GOP leaders and with the business community, so he capitalized on Daley’s ties to both.

To read more, visit: http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/story/2012-01-09/Daley-Obama-shakeup/52474126/1

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