Obama to appoint new chief of staff

2013-01-25 20:07
Denis McDonough (Orlando Sierra, AFP)

Denis McDonough (Orlando Sierra, AFP)

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Washington - President Barack Obama on Friday will name Denis McDonough, a deputy national security advisor and member of the president's inner circle, as White House chief of staff, an official said.

Obama was to announce McDonough's appointment at 12:10 along with those of other senior officials, the White House official said on condition of anonymity.

McDonough, 43, replaces Jack Lew, who has been nominated to be Obama's new treasury secretary.

McDonough was a top national security aide during Obama's first term, ultimately serving as number two to National Security Advisor Tom Donilon.

"In that capacity, Denis has played a key role in all of the major national security decisions - from ending the war in Iraq to winding down the war in Afghanistan; from our response to natural disasters in Haiti and Japan; to the repeal of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell’," the official said.

"As a veteran of Capitol Hill, Denis understands the importance of reaching across the aisle to make progress for the American people - whether it's on jobs and economy, health care or education, reducing the deficit or addressing climate change," the official said.

McDonough, who has a master's degree from Georgetown University, has been with Obama since he was elected to the US Senate in 2004.

As a member of the National Security Council he was closely involved in planning and overseeing the commando raid that killed Osama bin Laden, and can be seen sitting next to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in the famous Situation Room photograph taken during the operation.

The White House chief of staff is traditionally the president's closest collaborator, running the administration from the West Wing of the White House, the nerve centre of the presidency.

Unlike cabinet posts, the chief of staff's appointment is not subject to confirmation by the US Senate so McDonough, long considered the favourite for the job, can be expected to quickly assume his new responsibilities.

He would be the fourth person to hold the prestigious position during Obama's presidency, after Rahm Emanuel, William Daley and Lew.

Another close Obama aide, Pete Rouse, filled in as chief of staff on an interim basis between Emanuel and Daley.

The White House was expected to announce the appointments of nine other senior aides on Friday, including Jennifer Palmieri as communications director to replace Dan Pfeiffer, who will be named senior advisor.

Read more on:    barack obama  |  us
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