Obama taps Daley as new Chief of Staff

08:06, January 07, 2011      

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U.S. President Barack Obama (C) smiles while presenting William Daley (R) as his new permanent Chief of Staff to replace acting Chief of Staff Pete Rouse (L) while in the East Room of the White House in Washington, January 6, 2011. (Xinhua/Reuters Photo)

U.S. President Barack Obama on Thursday named William Daley, an executive banker and former Commerce Secretary under Clinton administration, as his new Chief of Staff.

The 62-year-old Daley will replace Pete Rouse, who stepped in to fill the position after Rahm Emanuel left to run for Chicago Mayor. Rouse will become a counselor to the president.

"Few Americans can boast the breadth of experience that Bill brings to this job," Obama told reporters at the White House. "But most of all, I know Bill to be somebody who cares deeply about this country."

Daley has strong background both in political arena and business community. When serving as Commerce Secretary, he headed up President Bill Clinton's effort to enact the historic NAFTA treaty. He is now a senior executive at banking giant JPMorgan Chase, with close ties with the business world.

"He possesses a deep understanding of how jobs are created and how to grow our economy," said Obama. "I'm convinced that he'll help us in our mission of growing our economy and moving America forward."

Just like Emanuel, Daley comes from Chicago, and is a brother of the city's current mayor Richard M. Daley. Their father, Richard, J. Daley also served as the city's mayor.

Analysts said the new pick for Chief of Staff, a powerful figure inside the White House, reflected Obama's intention to improve relations with the business community, which have become sour in his first two years.

In pushing through his top legislative priorities such as healthcare reform, Wall Street regulation and climate-change policy, the president has angered industries including insurance, financial services, energy, among others.

In another move to mend fences, Obama is scheduled to speak to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the most powerful business group in the country, on Feb. 7. Obama and the chamber have clashed over healthcare and climate-change policy.
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