It was just a couple weeks ago that White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley sat down and delivered a candid interview. Now, the veteran Chicago politician and banker has been "demoted," reports Business Insider.
The report originated with the Wall Street Journal, which says that "Daley's core responsibilities are shifting," and that he's even "turned over day-to-day management of the West Wing."
"It is unusual for a White House chief of staff to relinquish part of the job," the WSJ reports, and then adds:
A senior White House official who attended Monday's staff meeting where Mr. Daley made the announcement said that his new role has not yet been fully defined. But in recent weeks, Mr. Daley has focused more on managing relations with influential outsiders.
The recalibration of Mr. Daley's portfolio, agreed to by Mr. Obama, is designed to smooth any kinks in the president's team as it braces for the overlapping demands of governing while campaigning for re-election, people familiar with the matter said. The West Wing is preparing for budget battles with Congress and is seeking to use its executive powers more extensively.
The de facto chief of staff will now be Pete Rouse, a veteran Obama aide:
The new set-up effectively makes Mr. Rouse the president's inside manager and Mr. Daley his ambassador, roles that appear to better suit both men's talents. Mr. Rouse served as interim chief of staff before Mr. Daley arrived, and his White House bio boasts he is "known as the '101st Senator' " for his extensive knowledge of Congress.
But if "ambassador" is Daley's best role (which required bridge-building), he might want to think about what he says in interviews. Late last month he boasted to Politico that the White House is trying to "figure out what we can do [without Congress] and push the envelope on some of these things." He also quipped about the president's low approval ratings.
According to Fox News, that interview got the attention of some White House staffers:
But the presidential adviser said Daley, 63, has "not been getting along" well with some colleagues in the West Wing and raised eyebrows over a candid interview with Politico in which he bluntly said the challenges facing Obama had been "ungodly" and "brutal" over the last three years.
Daley has been on the job for about a year and replaced the contentious Rahm Emanuel, who is now the mayor of Chicago.
"Obama had sought Daley's counsel in a bid to mellow out the White House after Emanuel's combative tenure and strengthen ties with business," writes Business Insider, "but Daley's management style has been heavily criticized as confused and ineffective."