Tomorrow, White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel will announce his resignation (and probably
run for mayor of Chicago). Pete Rouse, who served as President Obama's
chief of staff in the Senate, is expected to replace him. The news comes
as a relief to progressives, many of whom loathed Emanuel, while conservatives worry his exit will steer the White House further left. How will this change the Obama presidency?
- Background on Rouse "Mr. Rouse has publicly expressed reservations about taking the chief of staff job for an extended period, but he has apparently agreed to do the job – for now," write Michael Shear and Jeff Zeleny at The New York Times. "Mr. Rouse has a low profile outside the White House and across Washington, but he is extraordinarily close to the president and is respected inside the West Wing and on Capitol Hill, where he was known as the '101st Senator' in his role as an adviser to Senator Tom Daschle of South Dakota, then the Democratic leader... When Mr. Daschle was defeated in 2004, Mr. Obama hired Mr. Rouse to run his Senate office, a decision that was central to Mr. Obama’s abrupt political rise."
- I'm Optimistic About Rouse, writes liberal writer Ari Berman at The Nation: "Maybe Rahm’s replacement, White House senior adviser Pete Rouse, will have better luck. After all, Rouse served as a top aide to former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle and understands the unique customs of the Senate better than anyone. Rahm’s turbulent tenure in Washington has proven that traditional inside-the-Beltway experience can be overrated, particularly when your boss was supposed to personify the dawn of a new political era. Now is the time for Obama to focus on reinspiring his grassroots base outside-the-Beltway. But if he's is going to play the Washington game, he might as well play it well."
- Obama's Going to Be Even More Disconnected, writes conservative blogger Bryan Preston at Pajamas Media: "Emanuel was probably the most pragmatic member of the Obama inner circle. His departure is sure to increase the disconnect between the White House and Congressional Democrats, who increasingly see the president as a tarnished leader out of touch with the damage he is doing to his own party. It’s also likely to increase the influence of Valerie Jarrett."
- May Be Better at Dealing with the Senate, write Anne Kornblut and Chris Cillizza at The Washington Post: "Rouse possesses a similar knowledge of the Senate, a murkier place - teeming with ambition, insecurities and big egos - that often frustrated Emanuel. Although he rose to power with Daschle, Rouse has a warm friendship with Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) and dines regularly with Reid and his wife, Landra."
- He's Got His Work Cut Out for Him, writes Alan Mascarenhas at Newsweek: "With Democrats expecting heavy losses in November, guiding Obama's legislative priorities through Congress is only likely to become trickier. The new chief of staff will be required to link arms as well as twist them. For the administration, it's never ideal for a leading light to head for the exit. And who knows? If a Democratic bloodbath ensues on Nov. 2, calls may grow louder for a 'wise elder' to come in and steady the ship - someone like Clinton holdover Erskine Bowles, experienced at working with a GOP-controlled Congress."