Obama appoints new chief of staff
US president picks William Daley, former commerce secretary, for his "deep understanding of how jobs are created".
Last Modified: 06 Jan 2011 23:59 GMT
William Daley replaces Rahm Emanuel as the new chief of staff [AFP]

Barack Obama, the US president, has chosen former commerce secretary William Daley as his new chief of staff.

Obama, who is under pressure to speed up economic recovery and tackle massive unemployment ahead of his 2012 reelection campaign, said on Thursday that Daley had tremendous experience, and a "deep understanding of how jobs are created".

"I am convinced he will help us in our mission of growing our economy," Obama said.

Daley, who served under former president Bill Clinton as commerce secretary, is seen as a centrist,  and his appointment will be viewed as an olive branch to the business community, with which Obama has had a rocky relationship.

He will become the new public face of the administration, and be the long-term successor to former chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, who left last year to run for mayor of Chicago, after Daley's brother Richard decided not to stand again.

However, his appointment has disappointed liberals who fear that Daley is too conservative and too close to corporate America.

White House reshuffle

The appointment was the latest reshuffle in the White House as Obama faces fresh challenges from Republicans now in charge of the House of Representatives.

The post of chief of staff is vital in any White House, as its occupant controls access to the president, co-ordinates the implementation of policy and handles breaking crises.

Pete Rouse, who took the job on an interim basis after Emanuel's departure, will be made a counsellor to the president.

Daley's appointment won an immediate endorsement from the US Chamber of Commerce, which has sparred with Obama for two years, and spent millions of dollars supporting Republicans in the mid-term elections.

"This is a strong appointment. Bill Daley is a man of stature and extraordinary experience in government, business, trade negotiations, and global affairs," said Thomas Donohue, the US Chamber of Commerce President and CEO.

"He's an accomplished manager and strong leader. We look forward to working with him to accelerate our recovery, grow the economy, create jobs, and tackle America's global challenges."

But some liberals were angry at the selection of a man who recently worked for finance giant JPMorgan Chase.

Justin Ruben, the executive director of MoveOn.org, a liberal campaign group, expressed disappointment with the decision.

"With Wall Street reporting record profits while middle class Americans continue to struggle in a deep recession, the announcement that William Daley, who has close ties to the big banks and big business, will now lead the White House staff is troubling and sends the wrong message to the American people," he said.

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