McDonough, if selected, would succeed Jack Lew, Obama’s choice as the next Treasury secretary. Selecting McDonough would elevate one of the president’s former congressional staff members whose loyalty to him is unquestioned, according to people familiar with the matter who requested anonymity to discuss personnel decisions.
The chief of staff serves as the president’s gatekeeper, making the position one of the most powerful in the White House. Obama, a senator from Illinois when he won the presidency in 2008, has a long relationship with McDonough, 43, who joined his Capitol Hill office in 2007, said the people.
“Denis has been one of the people the president has most trusted and depended on,” said Bill Burton, Obama’s former deputy press secretary. “He is extraordinarily talented, extremely intelligent and unbelievably loyal in a town where loyalty is not always rewarded.”
Last week, Obama named Lew as Timothy F. Geithner’s replacement as Treasury Secretary, leaving a vacancy should the appointment gain Senate confirmation. The chief of staff job isn’t subject to Senate confirmation.
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