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.

But Rouse's new duties may help ease one growing challenge: preparing the White House for the campaign. According to a senior administration official, running the White House has become increasingly unwieldy- with the new challenge of liaising with a campaign headquartered in Chicago. Before the campaign ramped up, sources say, there had been confusion about where to take issues for final decision. That confusion grew more intense with the challenge of dealing with a campaign headquartered so far away.

Sources say this new delineation of roles should ease that confusion. Multiple administration officials say Rouse is skilled at internal management, staffing issues, and organizational decision making. This frees up Daley to address the major issues facing the White House, such as liaising with power players – labor leaders, CEOs, and groups causing headaches for the White House – which will demand increasing attention during campaign season.

One source close to administration says this "plays to the strengths of each." In an effort to tamp down news reports that made the changes sounds like a major power shift inside the west wing, one official said, “Bill has asked Pete to take on an expanded operational and coordination role with the White House staff. It’s a move designed to improve internal communication and maximize performance.”

This past weekend Daley accompanied the President to the G20 Summit. He's made clear he will stay on through the election.

soundoff (6 Responses)
  1. george of the jungle

    Good. lets get everyone in place for the campaign next year against the looney tune right. At the rate they are going may not be anyone left they are shooting each other down left and right. Love how loyal they are.

    November 8, 2011 at 5:49 pm |
    • Howard

      Forget the public relations spin, and the BILLION dollar reelection budget, coming out of the corrupt obama White House ... just notice the cost of groceries when you go shopping ... the cost of your health insurance ... and, the cost of putting gas in your car. Add this to America's credit rating going down, our 14 TRILLION dollar debt, 9+% unemployment ... and all all the other ways obama has degraded America, and you can see for yourself, that it's time to vote for ANYBODY else, rather than obama in 2012

      November 9, 2011 at 3:32 pm |
      • jean2009

        @Howard....Howard is a troll he says the same thing on each post site. Read my response to this on another comment board.
        Obama-Biden 2012!

        November 9, 2011 at 10:10 pm |
  2. Tony In Largo

    OMG we have a crisis!! A Chief of Staff is being replaced by someone else in the White House!! Can you believe it .........!!!!! Come on people, give us substance.

    November 8, 2011 at 8:29 pm |
  3. Russell Brown

    Notwithstanding our wisdom ,there is a visible
    feebleness in some of our proceedings which gives
    encouragement to dissentions.
    The continental Belt is too loosely buckled.And if some
    things is not done in time ,it will be too late to do anything,and we
    shall fall into a state ,in which neither reconciliation nor independence ,
    will be practicable,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,
    The king and his adherents are got at their old game of dividing the continent.

    November 8, 2011 at 10:30 pm |
  4. dudh

    Clearly a political move, putting Daley in charge of the Obama ground campaign. I like it.

    January 9, 2012 at 4:31 pm |