White House Chief of Staff William Daley, appointed by President Barack Obama in January to improve relations with the business community, said he plans to leave the administration after the 2012 election.
“I made a commitment to the president through his re-election, which I’m confident he will do, and then my wife and I will return to Chicago,” he said in an interview with WMAQ-TV, the NBC affiliate station in his hometown.
Jamie Smith, a White House deputy press secretary, declined to comment further.
Daley, 63, a former JPMorgan Chase & Co. executive who served as commerce secretary under President Bill Clinton, was brought into the administration to improve ties with business and lead negotiations with Congress after Republicans won control of the House in the 2010 mid-term elections
Daley played a key role in the Obama administration’s unsuccessful attempts during talks on the debt limit increase in July to forge a broad agreement on long-term deficit reduction with Republican congressional leaders.
Overtures Obama made during those talks offering to accept a higher Medicare eligibility age and reduced Social Security annual cost-of-living adjustments generated a backlash from some Democratic lawmakers.
At an event in Washington Oct. 5, Daley described the collapse of the negotiations as his worst day in the White House. “We were so close on a deal,” he said at the Washington Ideas Forum. The highlight was the day in May when a U.S. Navy SEAL team killed al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.
The chief of staff also was a central player in a tempest over the scheduling of Obama’s Sept. 8 address to a joint session of Congress to announce the president’s jobs plan. Daley spoke by telephone with House Speaker John Boehner, an Ohio Republican, prior to the White House’s announcement of a speech date and then Boehner publicly requested the speech be delayed a day.
Obama named Daley to the post after the president’s first chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, left for a successful campaign to become mayor of Chicago.
The youngest of seven children of longtime Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley, he is part of the most powerful political dynasty in the Midwest. Daley was also a political mentor to Emanuel, who worked with him in the Clinton administration. Emanuel succeeded Richard M. Daley, who with six terms in office was the longest serving Chicago mayor.
Unlike two of his brothers, Daley has never been elected to office. He considered running for the U.S. Senate in 1996 and in the Illinois governor’s races of 2002 and 2010, though the idea was always complicated by potential public resentment of the Daley family having control of both the governor’s mansion and City Hall.
In the WMAQ interview, Daley said he has “no plans” for what he’ll do when he leaves the White House.
Another of Obama’s top advisers, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, also has said she plans to leave when Obama’s current term is up in January 2013.