Daley's duties
On January 6, 2011, President Obama announced William Daley (right) as his new chief of staff. Pete Rouse (left) agreed to stay on as a counselor to the president.
November 8th, 2011
03:19 PM ET

Daley's duties

The announcement that Pete Rouse, a long time Obama aide and Hill veteran adored by many White House staffers, is assuming more responsibilities makes official what multiple sources say is a shift that's been underway for some time. Senior administration officials say yesterday White House Chief of Staff William Daley told senior staff that Rouse will act as "COO" – chief operating officer to Daley's CEO.

One senior administration official is emphatic that Daley isn't giving up anything: Pete Rouse will do more management and fill a hole Daley needs filled. Another says this new assignment is not a realignment, it’s just acknowledging reality that Daley's greatest strength isn't day-to-day management, it’s working with principals to resolve big picture issues. Yet another senior administration official confides Daley has been "miserable" with the power sharing arrangement in the White House and wanted things to change for some time.

Democrats familiar with the decision to realign duties say it grew out of a need to correct organizational challenges and restructure for the campaign.

According to multiple Democrats familiar with the situation when Daley came on board, many staffers felt Daley brought an air of professionalism and much needed calm to the White House. Daley was considered a commanding presence, well mannered, easy with conversation and often the “adult” in the room. But Daley walked into a management structure he didn't design. After former Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel departed to run for Chicago Mayor, the President tasked Rouse with reorganizing the White House staff. Then Daley came on board with almost no new staff of his own, making him a manager unable to pick or assign his own team.

Additionally, informed Democrats inside and close to the administration say there are multiple power centers inside the West Wing, which has caused further complications. These Democrats say David Plouffe – the trusted manager of the 2008 campaign and now a senior advisor – has a great deal of influence over decision-making, particularly as the President moves further into campaign mode. Valerie Jarrett, who is both advisor and close friend of the first family, has her own sphere of influence liaising with the business community, which could be considered Daley's natural terrain, who was a former Commerce Secretary and senior executive at JP Morgan.

Those conflicting spheres of influence seem unlikely to change.
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Obama gives kids a head start
November 8th, 2011
02:39 PM ET

Obama gives kids a head start

YEADON, PA (CNN) - While visiting a Head Start program in a suburb of Philadelphia today, President Obama took yet another step in his ongoing efforts to bypass what he views as a do-nothing Congress. As part of what he is calling the “We Can’t Wait” campaign, Obama announced new benchmarks for evaluating the effectiveness of Head Start programs and a new plan to force all low-performing Head Start programs to re-compete for their federal funding.

“We know that three-and four-year-olds who go to high-quality preschools – including our best Head Start programs – are less likely to repeat a grade; they're less likely to need special education; they're more likely to graduate from high school than the peers who did not get these services,” the president said. “And so this makes early education one of our best investments in America's future.”
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Topics: Economy • Education • President Obama
Presidential microphone mishap
November 8th, 2011
01:13 PM ET

Presidential microphone mishap

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At last week’s G-20 summit in Cannes, France, world leaders gathered to find a fix for the global economy, but it’s a whisper between President Obama and French President Nicolas Sarkozy that is now being heard around the world.

A private conversation that was accidentally overheard by some reporters is so inflammatory that when asked about it, White House spokesman Jay Carney only said, “I don’t have any comment on the specific conversation.”

So what is it now that has the White House dodging a controversy?

According to Reuters, several reporters plugged headphones into a translation box that is commonly used at events where multiple languages are spoken.  They say that they heard Sarkozy tell Obama that he is sick of dealing with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

"I cannot bear Netanyahu, he's a liar," Sarkozy reportedly told Obama, apparently not realizing that anyone else was listening.
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Obama to unveil homework for Head Start schools
November 8th, 2011
09:38 AM ET

Obama to unveil homework for Head Start schools

YEADON, PA (CNN) -President Obama is not easing up on taking executive actions to install new plans where he believes Congress won't act.

As he heads to a state-of-the-art preschool facility in Yeadon, PA to tour and visit a classroom of 3-5 year olds, a senior administration official confirmed he'll be announcing new steps to strengthen the nations education system.

Highlights of plan:

-Low-performing Head Start programs for preschool children will be required to compete for federal funds And HHS will review performance to determine eligibility.

-New rule is designed "to promote accountability and improve the quality of Head Start programs,"

-A third of Head Start grantees will be required to compete for funds.(Admin estimates)

President Obama has gone around Congress recently with highly touted executive actions to help underwater homeowners and college students drowning in debt.

Republicans who continue to criticize the presidents "we can't wait" campaign have repeatedly pointed to House bills stuck in the Senate that they believe if acted on will bolster the economy.


Topics: Education • jobs • President Obama • The News
Daley giving up day-to-day role?
November 8th, 2011
08:12 AM ET

Daley giving up day-to-day role?

A senior administration official disputed a Wall Street Journal story that said Bill Daley, the White House chief of staff, was turning over day-to-day management of the West Wing.

"That's just flat wrong," the official told CNN late Monday. "Daley is chief of staff. He is not turning over day-to-day management of the White House."

The Wall Street Journal reported on its website that Daley had shifted his core duties to Pete Rouse, a veteran aide to President Barack Obama, some 10 months after taking up the post and following difficult negotiations with Congress over the debt ceiling.

"Pete will remain counselor to the president. His assignment is to better coordinate the work of the White House staff as we implement the president's policies," the official said. "This is part of Bill's effort to make the White House staff as effective and efficient as possible, and it stretches back many weeks."

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Topics: William Daley
Morning Briefing: Obama gets boost in new poll
November 8th, 2011
08:07 AM ET

Morning Briefing: Obama gets boost in new poll

The 1600 Report's daily roundup of what the White House is reading this morning online and in the papers:

Obama leads Cain, Romney [WSJ]

What this Election Day will tell us about the next [POLITICO]

Obama’s use of the “R” word [Bloomberg]

What Romney would cut [NYTimes]

Daley changes role [CNN.com]

White House: No contact with aliens, but we're looking [CNN.com]

POTUS' Day Ahead: Philly bound
November 8th, 2011
07:52 AM ET

POTUS' Day Ahead: Philly bound

Good morning from the White House.  President Obama makes a quick trip up to Philly this morning to tour a head start facility and unveil another executive action as part of his "We can't wait campaign."  The president is back at the White House in the early afternoon and has no more public events on the schedule for the remainder of the day.
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Topics: Daily Schedule