Why is Daley leaving the White House?
January 9th, 2012
07:55 PM ET

Why is Daley leaving the White House?

When Bill Daley departs the White House, President Obama will have had either three or four chiefs of staff in his first term – depending how you count: Rahm Emanuel, interim Chief of Staff Pete Rouse (who served briefly), Bill Daley and now Jack Lew.

It’s a lot of turnover for one term, though it probably doesn’t impact his image – voters might not really care about internal staff changes in the West Wing. The President and multiple administration officials say it was Daley’s decision to go. Multiple Democratic sources say he has been unhappy.

So why didn’t it work for Daley?  According to many Democratic sources:

Hard to Break In – Daley was a Chicago heavy-hitter but he wasn’t a campaign insider. The president was already getting advice from long time senior counselors who weren’t going to cede their relationship. Among them: Valerie Jarrett, David Plouffe, Pete Rouse and David Axelrod in Chicago.

No Staff Changes – Multiple sources tell CNN Daley never got the support from the president to make what he thought were necessary changes for the White House to function better.

Business Relations – Daley was originally brought in - in part - to improve relations with the business community. Once the campaign kicked in and the focus turned to the president as champion of working Americans, relations with the business community became less of a priority.

Finally, Jack Lew is well liked, low key, and has years-long good relations with the Hill. Think of him as a chief financial officer-type, one who can manage the White House while others worry about the campaign.

Topics: Jack Lew • The Buzz • White House • William Daley
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.

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."


Topics: William Daley
September 24th, 2011
03:49 PM ET

Obama tees off with Clinton

President Obama hit the links with former President Clinton Saturday at Andrews Air Force Base outside Washington.  Rounding out the foursome were White House chief of staff Bill Daley and Doug Band, a Clinton aide.

Daley, Plouffe try to shift focus back to jobs
March 1st, 2011
03:34 PM ET

Daley, Plouffe try to shift focus back to jobs

WASHINGTON (CNN)– White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley quietly expanded the Obama administration's outreach to the business community on Tuesday by appearing via videoconference at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's board meeting in Florida.

Daley's remarks on President Obama's efforts to create jobs and tout his competitiveness agenda came as another top White House aide, senior adviser David Plouffe, delivered closed-door remarks in Washington to the executive council of the AFL-CIO.

Plouffe told CNN that his meeting with top organized labor officials would undoubtedly include some conversation about the battle labor unions for public employees are waging against Republican Gov. Scott Walker.

But Plouffe stressed that he mostly wanted to talk about "creating jobs and how we're going to win the future," the message Obama unveiled in his State of the Union Address and has been pitching in a series of events around the country.

The outreach by Daley and Plouffe shows how even as instability in the Mideast continues to dominate media attention, White House aides are trying to keep the focus on jobs and the rest of Obama's domestic agenda here at home.


Topics: The News • William Daley
Millionaires in the White House
February 22nd, 2011
05:40 PM ET

Millionaires in the White House

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Executive Branch financial disclosure forms released today show White House Senior Adviser David Plouffe walked away from a $1.5 million salary as a consultant at Plouffe Strategies when he joined the Obama administration. He also said goodbye to a $108,000 salary from AKPD Message and Media, and speaking fees ranging from $8k to $100k a pop!  Not bad for a young man who dropped out of college to pursue a career in politics (He received his undergraduate degree in 2010).

The records also show that White House Chief of Staff William Daley raked in over $13 million in salary and stock from JP Morgan. It makes the $1.7 million he received from Abbott Labs and Boeing almost not worth mentioning.

See for yourself: Plouffe. Daley.

Topics: David Plouffe • The Buzz • William Daley
Daley calls Huntsman "our Manchurian candidate"
February 2nd, 2011
03:51 PM ET

Daley calls Huntsman "our Manchurian candidate"

WASHINGTON (CNN) - New White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley might have gone too far when he was doling out compliments for U.S. Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman.

"Our Manchurian candidate" is how Daley jokingly referred to Huntsman while talking to reporters at a breakfast hosted by Bloomberg News. "No question he's done a fine job," Daley said. "He's played an integral part in this administration's foreign policy."

The comments of praise came two days after Huntsman sent his letter of resignation to President Obama. Huntsman's resignation is effective at the end of April when many have reported he will begin testing the waters for a 2012 presidential run against Obama.

Topics: Jon Huntsman • The Buzz • William Daley
Moving up: Stephanie Cutter
January 27th, 2011
03:42 PM ET

Carney named White House press secretary

WASHINGTON (CNN) – Vice President Joe Biden's communications director, Jay Carney, was named the new White House press secretary Thursday as part of a series of other big staff moves announced by new Chief of Staff Bill Daley.

Carney, a former Time magazine reporter, will succeed Robert Gibbs as the most visible spokesman for President Barack Obama. Other White House aides who have been considered for press secretary include Bill Burton, Stephanie Cutter, Josh Earnest and Jen Psaki.

Several Democratic sources said that based on the private deliberations inside the White House, Carney was the clear front-runner for the job.

One of the sources said the job was "totally lined up for Jay" before Daley was named chief of staff this month. Then Daley reopened the process to more candidates to make sure they were making the right move, and that second round of considerations has come to a close with Carney at the top of the list, the source said.

Check out the complete story on CNN's Political Ticker.

Topics: Bill Burton • Robert Gibbs • The News • The Visuals • William Daley
Obama courting business
January 21st, 2011
12:50 PM ET

Obama courting business

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Trying to reverse the perception that his administration has not been friendly to business, President Obama is going out of his way to involve corporate America in the effort to turn the ailing economy around.

In the latest move, Mr. Obama has named General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt to chair the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness. The panel, which will replace the President’s Economic Recovery Board, will be charged with finding new ways to grow private-sector jobs.

‘We still have a long way to go,” the president said in a written statement, “and my number one priority is to ensure we are doing everything we can to get the American people back to work.”

The business community has been warming up to this new strategy that has been coming together piece by piece in recent weeks:


Topics: China • Economy • President Obama • William Daley
The Sweep: Daley gets down to business
January 19th, 2011
01:19 PM ET

The Sweep: Daley gets down to business

Washington (CNN) - As he drove to a Dunkin' Donuts in Nashville early on Election Day 2000, Bill Daley's reputation for being the calmest guy in the middle of a crisis was being severely put to the test.

It was 6:30 a.m., and Daley had just picked up Don Baer, a last-minute addition to Vice President Al Gore's campaign to help with communications strategy, at his hotel. They decided to get a cup of coffee on their way to Gore's campaign office to begin fueling up for what could be a long night of waiting for election returns.

"It was just the two of us in that car going into the headquarters that morning, and we were talking about what the day might hold," Baer told me.

As a guy who's had two legendary Chicago mayors in his family, Daley thought he had seen everything in politics. But as he sifted through the possibilities with Baer in the car - including one nightmare scenario where Gore could win the electoral vote but lose the popular vote to Republican George W. Bush - Daley grew more and more perplexed.


Topics: White House • William Daley