Obama Selects New Chief Of Staff

With Jack Lew headed to the Treasury Department, President Obama has selected a new Chief Of Staff:

President Barack Obama plans to name Deputy National Security Adviser Denis McDonough as his next chief of staff, a Democratic source briefed on the plans tells POLITICO. McDonough would replace Jack Lew, whom Obama nominated to be his new Treasury secretary.

By selecting McDonough, Obama is opting for the familiar: a trusted aide who’s been at his side since the 2008 campaign and is credited with keeping the administration’s internal wheels turning smoothly on foreign policy issues.

But McDonough brings less experience than his predecessors with another typical part of the job: fielding sometimes angry salvos from members of Congress with home-district concerns about aspects of the administration’s policy or budget decisions.

McDonough has been involved in just about every major national security decision made by Obama since he took office, from the surge in U.S. troops in Afghanistan to the launching of the commando raid that killed Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden.

McDonough, who holds the title of deputy national security adviser, served since October 2009 as the chief of staff to the National Security Council, regularly overseeing the so-called deputies meetings where key decisions are hashed out or teed up for more senior officials. At the outset of the administration, he was in charge of “strategic communications” for the NSC.

McDounough will be the 5th Chief of Staff of Obama’s Presidency, the most any President has ever had.

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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.