President Obama will tap Denis McDonough, a trusted longtime aide steeped in foreign policy and Capitol Hill experience, as his new chief of staff. Obama was set to announce the decision on Friday at 12:10 p.m. along with several other White House staff changes. The reshuffling is in keeping with Obama's management style of relying heavily on a tight inner circle of aides in his decision-making. Here is a look at the changes.
McDonough becomes Obama's fifth chief of staff: McDonough, the deputy national security adviser, is a foreign policy expert who worked for Obama during his days in the Senate and later advised the president's 2008 campaign. A White House official said Obama values McDonough's "intellect and good judgment." The official credited McDonough for playing a key role in the decisions from ending the war in Iraq to winding down the war in Afghanistan and in coordinating the U.S. response to the earthquake in Haiti and to the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan. McDonough, who is a former adviser to Sen. Tom Daschle, brings deep knowledge of Capitol Hill that could help Obama as he tries to navigate budget disputes with Congress and push a hefty legislative agenda of gun control and immigration. McDonough replaces Jack Lew, who has been nominated as Treasury secretary.
Dan Pfeiffer succeeds David Plouffe as senior adviser: Pfeiffer will succeed David Plouffe as a senior adviser, playing a big role in shaping Obama's message. Pfeiffer, a veteran of Obama's 2008 campaign, has been serving as White House communications director.
Jennifer Palmieri becomes communications director: Palmieri, who is currently deputy communications director, worked at the Center for American Progress think tank before she was tapped to work in the Obama White House. A former adviser to John Edwards's presidential campaign in 2004, Palmieri brings political seasoning and longtime relationships with many members of the press corps.
Other changes: Rob Nabors, the top White House liaison to Capitol Hill, moves to the job of deputy chief of staff. Tony Blinken, a foreign policy adviser to Vice President Joe Biden, becomes deputy national security adviser. Danielle Gray becomes assistant to the president and Cabinet secretary; Katy Kale becomes assistant to the president for management and administration; Lisa Monaco becomes as Obama's top counterterrorism adviser, succeeding John Brennan; Miguel Rodriguez becomes the new director of legislative affairs and David Simas becomes deputy senior advisor for communications and strategy.