Musical Chairs

Article excerpt

Byline: Daniel Stone

Washington may look very different after the midterms. The GOP is favored to win control of the House, which would put John Boehner in the speaker's chair and allow Republicans to head every committee. That will cause the White House to further recalibrate its priorities and staffing. A look at the would-be power structure:


Pete Rouse: Chief of Staff

Among the reported priorities of Obama's new right-hand man: a West Wing shake-up of midlevel staff, a new communication strategy to better showcase the administration's accomplishments, and a savvy way to embrace hot-button issues like energy and immigration reform, which could be key to the Dems' 2012 strategy.

David Plouffe: Senior Adviser

Obama's campaign architect will move into the West Wing next year to counsel senior staff on messaging and how to reconnect with voters, especially young ones. Current adviser David Axelrod, in turn, will return to Chicago to rebuild Obama's campaign. The goal, of course, is reelection in 2012.

Austan Goolsbee: Chair of Council of Economic Advisers

Obama's longtime colleague believes that investing in infrastructure and offering tax cuts to small businesses are among the most effective ways to jumpstart the economy. But as long as he leaves out across-the-board tax relief, he'll butt heads with a fortified GOP.

Tom Donilon: National-Security Adviser

Donilon, the interim holder of the job, is known as a smart, hardworking insider, who usually agrees with Obama on counterterror strategy. Critics say he's a yes man. The president may want to bring in a bigger name next year to appear tougher on terror.

Bill Burton: Press Secretary

Rumors continue to swirl about Robert Gibbs taking over as head of the Democratic National Committee. That would likely elevate Burton, a more congenial and straightforward spinmeister than most White House spokesmen. He would also be the first ever biracial (half African-American) press secretary.


Darrell Issa: Oversight

The Californian loves the spotlight, and he'll get it if he follows through on pledges to investigate any perceived misstep by the Obama administration. …