Daley Duty

Jan 6, 2011 3:24pm

President Obama this afternoon extolled his new chief of staff Bill Daley as having “a deep understanding of how jobs are created and how to grow our economy” as well as “a smidgen of awareness of how our system of government and politics works — you might say it is a genetic trait.” Mr. Daley is the seventh child of the late Chicago Mayor Richard Daley and the younger brother of current Mayor Richie Daley, whose imminent departure from Chicago City Hall paved the path for the departure of President Obama’s first chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, currently a candidate for Mayor. “Few Americans can boast the breadth of experience that Bill brings to this job,” the president said of his new chief of staff. “He served as a member of President Clinton's Cabinet, as Commerce secretary. He took on several other important duties over the years on behalf of our country. He's led major corporations.” The president hopes that Daley, until recently an executive at J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., will help rebuild relations with the business community, which have become strained, though Daley’s main role will be as a day-to-day manager of a very busy White House. In his brief remarks in the East Room of the White House, Daley recalled his January 21, 1961 visit with his family to visit a freshly inaugurated President John F. Kennedy. Mayor Daley had played a pivotal role in Kennedy’s victory in Illinois. “Fifty years ago this month, I visited the White House with my parents and my brothers and sisters to visit a young president who went on to show great strength, leadership and vision in the face of enormous challenges in those times,” Daley said. “You, Mr. President, are proving your strength, your leadership, your vision during a most difficult time for our nation and for the world.  You have also shown through your example that public service is an honorable calling, and I am pleased to answer your call.” Daley and President Obama both sang the praises of Pete Rouse, who since Emanuel’s departure in October has served as interim chief of staff and will now serve as counselor to the president. Daley said his “job will be made easier by the great work and direction of Pete Rouse….I am proud to call him my colleague.” President Obama, who described Rouse as “one of my most trusted aides,” said that “in no small part to his efforts, a period that everybody thought would be one of retrenchment turned out to be one of great progress for our country.  And Pete's leadership's all the more remarkable when you consider that when I first met him and asked him to lead my Senate staff, he told me in that gruff voice of his that” – and here the president imitated Rouse’s gravely voce — "his strong inclination was to leave government."  The audience of Obama administration staffers laughed and applauded. “The reason everybody's applauding is because they have heard him say that every day for the last six years,” the president explained for the folks at home, smiling. Rouse has also working on developing a restructuring plan for the White House, part of which “was providing me recommendations for candidates to serve as chief of staff moving forward,” the president said. “As part of that process, today I am proud to announce the appointment of an experienced public servant, a devoted patriot, my friend, fellow Chicagoan, Bill Daley, to serve as my chief of staff.” The president noted that Rouse would remain in the White House either because of “Pete's sense of duty — or sense of guilt; I'm not sure which.” The first time Daley visited the White House was 50 years this month. The picture below from the Associated Press shows then 13-year-old Daley on the left with his father next to him.   -Jake Tapper 

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