right-hand man

President Barack Obama presents a birthday cake April 15, 2009, to senior advisor Pete Rouse in the Oval Office. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

NYT: The President will confirm today that Pete Rouse, a senior adviser, will replace Rahm Emanuel as his chief of staff.

Rouse has been at the president’s side since Obama arrived in Washington nearly six years ago as a senator, serving as his chief of staff.

He 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.

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, Obama hired Rouse to run his Senate office, a decision that was central to Obama’s abrupt political rise.

Mark Halperin (Time): “He’s not Rahm, he’s a much different guy. And he’s close to the president which is clearly one of the reasons he was picked, and he’s got a lot of, as an inside player, very powerful on Capitol Hill. It’s pretty incredible for this guy who was called the 101st senator when he worked for Tom Daschle. He could walk into most Washington restaurants, Washington restaurants, and be completely unrecognized. The disparity between his influence and relations on Capitol Hill and his visibility is as about as wide as I know…No two chiefs-of-staff do this job exactly the same way. There are parts of the job that Rahm did, that some others have done, that Pete Rouse just isn’t going to do. As John said, he’s an extraordinarily skillful inside player. He can channel the president, know what he thinks. This is not a guy who’s going to be on the Sunday Shows a lot, if at all. This is not a guy who’s going to be I think negotiating with foreign governments the way Rahm did. This is not a guy who’s going to be on the phone with reporters 50 times a day trying to shape the story line of the administration…Bush and Obama, and the left won’t like when I say this probably, they’re very similar. They want the people they already know. They don’t want outsiders in the inner circle. And when the Washington chattering class, when the people gabbing say, ‘You need to bring somebody in in new for the symbolism. You need to widen your circle.’ The attitude is, ‘No I don’t. I’m going to do this my way. I want people I already know and trust.’ Bringing in Pete Rouse is the opposite of changing the narrative in a dramatic way. It’s the opposite of saying, ‘I need to go in a different direction.'”

President Barack Obama talks with Senior Advisor Pete Rouse in the Oval Office, Dec. 9, 2009. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

1 Response to “right-hand man”

  1. 1 vitaminlover
    October 4, 2010 at 2:46 am

    This will be a good thing.

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