As Obama Plans White House Reshuffle, Where Are the New Faces?

By Feldmann, Linda | The Christian Science Monitor, November 23, 2010 | Go to article overview

As Obama Plans White House Reshuffle, Where Are the New Faces?


Feldmann, Linda, The Christian Science Monitor


A major game of musical chairs appears to be in the works at the White House. But without an infusion of new blood, some wonder, will the reshuffle get Obama back on track?

President Obama is in deep planning mode for a major staff reshuffle. According to news reports, former campaign manager David Plouffe will join the White House in early January and senior adviser David Axelrod will return to Chicago to work on Mr. Obama's reelection campaign, perhaps as soon as right after the State of the Union address in late January or early February.

That schedule allows some overlap for the two men to effect a smooth transition. It also has Mr. Axelrod returning to Chicago somewhat earlier than previously planned, a sign of just how eager he is to reunite with his family full-time and exhausted from four years of nonstop campaigning and then governing.

The story, first reported by CNN and sourced to a senior administration official and Democratic strategist, also lays out other possible staff changes: Energy czar Carol Browner may become deputy chief of staff, as the current deputies, Jim Messina and Mona Sutphen, are expected to depart. Mr. Messina is reportedly moving to Chicago to help with the campaign.

Congressional liaison Phil Schiliro is expected to be promoted either to deputy chief of staff or senior adviser to interim chief of staff Pete Rouse. Another insider, Rob Nabors, a senior aide to Mr. Rouse, is seen as most likely to replace Mr. Schiliro.

The common thread in all these changes is that there's not a new face in the bunch. Nor have any other major personnel changes to date brought in many from outside Obamaworld: Rouse was a senior Obama adviser before replacing Rahm Emanuel as chief of staff. Tom Donilon replaced his boss, National Security Adviser James Jones. Austan Goolsbee also replaced his boss, Christina Romer, as chair of the Council of Economic Advisers.

Jacob Lew did move all the way over from the State Department to become budget director, replacing Peter Orszag. And the White House is searching for someone from the business world to replace Larry Summers when he leaves his post as director of the White House National Economic Council to return to Harvard. …

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