White House Chief of Staff Daley Cedes Day-to-Day Operations

William Daley
U.S. President Barack Obama, right, congratulates William Daley after naming him White House Chief of Staff. Photographer: Brendan Smialowski/Bloomberg

White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley is handing off some White House management duties to Peter Rouse, a senior adviser to President Barack Obama.

“Daley has asked Pete Rouse, counselor to the president, to help streamline and make more effective the internal communications of the White House,” White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters traveling with Obama to an event in Philadelphia. Rouse will “help with some of the day-to-day management of the place,” Carney said.

Daley informed senior White House staff of the change, which had been in the works for at least a month, at a meeting yesterday morning, Carney said.

The change is occurring as the White House is gearing up for Obama’s re-election campaign amid a sluggish economy and an unemployment rate that has been stuck at around 9 percent for more than two years. Since a protracted fight over raising the debt ceiling, Obama has been stymied by objections from congressional Republicans from getting action on a package of tax cuts and spending aimed at boosting hiring.

Daley, 63, a former JPMorgan Chase & Co. executive and U.S. Commerce secretary, was brought to the White House to improve relations with the business community after the 2010 midterm elections, in which Democrats lost control of the House of Representatives.

Rouse, 65, was a longtime aide to former South Dakota Senator Tom Daschle and later worked in Obama’s Senate office, helping him plan his White House bid. He served as interim chief of staff at the White House after Rahm Emanuel left in October 2010 for a successful campaign to become mayor of Chicago, a job that was vacated by Daley’s brother, Richard.

“It’s less about transferring duties than adding responsibilities,” Carney said. “It’s about making the White House as effective as possible.”

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