Bill Daley For White House Chief Of Staff?

The latest rumor out of the West Wing has former Commerce Secretary Bill Daley coming in as permanent replacement for Rahm Emanuel as White House Chief Of Staff:

Former Clinton Commerce Secretary William Daley – a scion of Chicago’s powerful political dynasty — is being considered for a top slot in the Obama administration, perhaps White House chief of staff, according to two people familiar with the situation.

But the sources emphasized that Daley, 62, hasn’t been offered any particular administration post – and may, in fact, not be asked to come on board.

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said Monday night he was “not going to comment on personnel speculation.”

Still, the consideration of the business-friendly Daley, first reported Monday afternoon by Bloomberg News, suggests the possibility of a significant internal change in the White House, where the expectation has been that President Barack Obama and interim chief of staff Pete Rouse would implement a more incremental mid-course adjustment.

And it may be controversial: Daley is Midwest chairman of J.P. Morgan Chase, a bank that accepted $25 billion in TARP funds – albeit reluctantly. He currently serves on the board of pharmaceutical giant Merck & Co, and was a major architect of the still-controversial North American Free Trade Agreement in the 1990s.

The injection of Daley into the mix further confuses an already-cloudy West Wing restructuring that will begin with the arrival of old Obama hand David Plouffe, his 2008 campaign manager, who is expected to take a job in the White House later this month. Plouffe will replace Senior Adviser David Axelrod, who will leave for Chicago in the next month to begin organizing Obama’s re-election campaign, and a series of other changes could be announced as early as this week.

Some of the President’s critics will see this as a return to “Chicago style” politics, but what naming Daley would really represent, I think, would be a signal that the Administration wants to heal it’s frayed relationship with the business community. Whether it works is another question.

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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.