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On Wednesday, former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, a former Democratic Party chairman and leader of its liberal wing, laid into Mr. Obama for what he called an overreliance on the same circle of longtime advisers and Beltway insiders, saying the president needed to overhaul his staff in order to deliver on his campaign pledge to change the way Washington works.

“The president hired a senior staff with people with 20-year careers in Washington. If you want to change Washington, you can’t hire people who benefited from the old system to change it to the new system,” Mr. Dean told reporters at a breakfast sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor.

Those advisers often treated the president’s progressive supporters with “contempt,” contended Mr. Dean, who said he would support Mr. Daley as Mr. Obama’s top aide despite his previous stint in Washington because “he’s a grown-up.”

“He knows Washington, but he is not of Washington. That’s incredibly important,” Mr. Dean said. “It will be a mutual atmosphere of respect, and that will be a huge tone change.”

Mr. Gibbs himself became the target of progressive ire last summer when he bemoaned the “professional left” for not giving Mr. Obama enough credit in delivering on his campaign promises to overhaul the nation’s health care and financial systems.

• Sean Lengell contributed to this article.