Photo by Pete Souza/The White House via Getty Images.
In somewhat of an unusual move within the Obama administration, White House chief of staff Bill Daley has reportedly handed over some day-to-day management of the West Wing to Peter Rouse, a veteran aide to the president who served as interim chief of staff before Daley’s arrival.
Daley was brought on board after Democrats took a beating in the 2010 midterm elections with an eye on the 2012 elections, but less than a year into his run as chief of staff, Daley’s role is reportedly shifting to focus more on outside relations.
The Wall Street Journal, which first broke the news, reports that the new set-up "effectively makes Mr. Rouse the president’s inside manager and Mr. Daley his ambassador, roles that appear to better suit both men’s talents."
The exact reason for the change – and even its extent – is not completely clear, and White House officials speaking anonymously to a number of media outlets have provided conflicting accounts of whether the move represents something of a rebuke to Daley.
One told Fox News that the move does indeed represent a demotion and that Daley has "not been getting along" well with some of his West Wing colleagues. Another, however, told Politico that the move was merely meant to smooth out the entire West Wing operation. "Bill is adding to people’s responsibilities, not subtracting from anyone’s, including his own," the senior official said.
Regardless of the motivation behind the move, Daley has raised some eyebrows of late, both in the White House and down the road in the Capitol. The Journal notes that Daley has had a tense relationship with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, which soured during recent budget negotiations. Daley also angered some White House allies during a recent interview with Politico, during which he spoke candidly about the challenges facing Obama and appeared to take a shot at former chief of staff Rahm Emanuel.