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Surge Desk

William Daley: 5 Facts About Obama's New Chief of Staff

Jan 6, 2011 – 1:21 PM
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Mary Phillips-Sandy Contributor

The rumors were true: Administration sources say William Daley will serve as President Barack Obama's next chief of staff.

Interim chief of staff Pete Rouse has filled the position since October, when Rahm Emanuel left the White House to run for mayor of Chicago. The chief of staff is arguably one of the most powerful positions in Washington, since the role involves direct participation in presidential decision-making and negotiations. Other high-level responsibilities include coordination of Executive Office staff, advising the president and acting as a gatekeeper to the Oval Office.

So who is William "Bill" Daley? Surge Desk has five facts about the man who's about to take one of the nation's top jobs.

1. He's part of a political dynasty
The Daley name has a storied history in Chicago politics. Bill's father was Mayor Richard J. Daley, dubbed the "last of the big bosses" who ran Chicago's Democratic machine. His brother John P. Daley is a Cook County, Ill., commissioner who holds several key committee appointments; another brother, Richard M. Daley, is the longest-serving mayor in Chicago's history.

2. He's worked with a president before
Daley served as commerce secretary in Bill Clinton's White House and was instrumental in the passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement.

3. He could have been chief of staff 10 years ago
Daley's tenure at the Commerce Department came to an end in 2000 when he left to become Al Gore's campaign chairman. Before Gore lost the election, Slate speculated that Daley would be first in line for the chief of staff job in a Gore administration.

4. He's got friends on Wall Street
Proponents of greater financial regulation will be watching the new chief of staff closely. Daley has been a senior executive at JPMorgan Chase for many years and holds seat on the firm's executive committee.

5. He has been criticized over his lobbying past
During the 2008 presidential campaign, John McCain released an attack ad based in part on Obama's relationship with Daley, who was an economic adviser to the Obama campaign. The ad (which criticized Obama's ties to Tony Rezko and Rod Blagojevich) accused Daley of being a political insider and, worse, a lobbyist. Daley fought back, saying that the ad was "an outright lie" and claiming that he had "never been a lobbyist." However, one journalist noted that Daley had worked in the lobbying division of a Chicago law firm after he graduated from law school in the early 1980s.

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Filed under: Nation, Politics, Surge Desk, Barack Obama

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