Obama replaces chief of staff Emanuel with another confidant
Oct 1, 2010, 16:34 GMT
Washington - US President Barack Obama on Friday formally announced the long-awaited departure of his chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, and replaced him with another long-time advisor.
Pete Rouse, Obama's chief of staff during his time in the Senate from 2005-2008, will serve as an interim replacement. Obama did not say how long Rouse would hold the job, considered by many the second most important position in the White House.
Emanuel was known for an abrasive style that pushed other White House advisors to the limit. Rouse is known for an opposite, quieter, problem-solving style.
'Obviously these two gentlemen have slightly different styles,' Obama quipped.
Emanuel is leaving in order to run for mayor of Chicago. While many chiefs of staff serve only two years, the timing of his departure just ahead of November's mid-term congressional elections is rare. Obama said that Emanuel would be sorely missed.
'This is a bittersweet day here at the White House,' Obama said, calling Emanuel 'an incomparable leader of our staff and one who we are going to miss very much.'
The extra time allows Emanuel, a former Illinois congressman, to quickly enter what has become a crowded field of mayoral candidates. Emanuel had long been mulling a run for mayor and must file papers to enter the race by November 22.
Yet some pundits have also speculated that the early departure allows Emanuel to be untarnished should Obama's Democrats suffer heavy losses in November's election.
Rouse will be charged with managing a White House and cabinet in transition. Emanuel is the latest in a string of advisors to announce their departure from the Obama administration, part of a shift that often takes place at the mid-point in US presidential terms.
Others planning to leave include White House economic advisors Larry Summers and Christina Romer, as well as budget director Peter Orszag. US media have speculated that Obama's national security advisor, James Jones, may also be leaving.
Obama said Rouse, who served for three decades as a staffer in the Senate, was 'extraordinarily well qualified' for the task. Rouse had already been serving as senior White House advisor since Obama took office.