- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 6, 2011

President Obama on Thursday picked banking executive William Daley, a former Clinton Cabinet official, as his new White House chief of staff.

Mr. Obama’s announcement capped several days of speculation over a permanent replacement for Rahm Emanuel, who left last fall to run for mayor of Chicago. Senior adviser Pete Rouse had been filling in temporarily and is expected to remain as a top adviser to Mr. Obama.

“Few Americans can boast the breadth of experience that Bill brings to this job,” Mr. Obama told reporters. “But most of all, I know Bill to be somebody who cares deeply about this country.”

Mr. Daley, 62, will join the administration as it grapples with a new divided Congress and Mr. Obama’s own approaching re-election campaign.

As a top official with JPMorgan Chase, his presence will help shore up the White House’s credentials with the business community, but it’s also likely to rankle many progressives who say they are fed up with Mr. Obama’s reliance on Clinton-era officials that lean toward the center.

Adam Green, co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, criticized the president’s choice for chief of staff. “Bill Daley consistently urges the Democratic Party to pursue a corporate agenda that alienates both independent and Democratic voters. If President Obama listens to that kind of political advice from Bill Daley, Democrats will suffer a disastrous 2012,” he said.‬‬

Indeed, many on the left had cheered the exits of Mr. Emanuel and former National Economic Council head Lawrence Summers, both former aides to President Clinton.

Republicans also wasted no time in taking a shot at the pick, highlighting Mr. Daley’s past ties to housing finance giant Fannie Mae. Republican National Committee spokesman Douglas Heye distributed an e-mail noting the ties of a number of top Obama aides to Fannie Mae, whose losses in the housing market collapse of recent years have necessitated a massive taxpayer bailout.

Like much of Mr. Obama’s inner circle, Mr. Daley has strong Chicago ties as the brother of current Mayor Richard Daley. His impending appointment comes as top spokesman Robert Gibbs on Wednesday added his name to the list of recent White House departures, saying he plans to step down from the podium in February to become an outside political adviser to the president.

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