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Obama loses second Chief of Staff within 12 months

Bill Daley, the Irish-American former commerce secretary, quits after just 355 days as Barack Obama’s right-hand man.

Jacob Lew (left) smiles over at Bill Daley (right), as Barack Obama announces Daley's retirement as Chief of Staff.
Jacob Lew (left) smiles over at Bill Daley (right), as Barack Obama announces Daley's retirement as Chief of Staff.
Image: Susan Walsh/AP

BARACK OBAMA has lost his second Chief of Staff within a year, just ten months away from his bitter re-election campaign.

Bill Daley, the Irish-American former Secretary of Commerce who was only appointed to the job on January 13 last year, was this afternoon confirmed as having quit the job, having submitted his resignation on January 3.

Daley was said to have struggled to make his mark in the job, and had developed a fraught relationship with the US Congress during his tenure – particularly during the talks on avoiding a government shutdown last summer.

Politico.com reports that his tenure was also marked by complaints about his style of management – and that he had already seen his role watered down somewhat in the last few months, as other aides were appointed to take care of certain briefs.

Marking his departure, Obama nonetheless said Daley had been “outstanding” during “one of the busiest and most consequential years of my presidency”, and that he would miss Daley’s presence.

Daley will continue in the post until the end of January, after which he will be replaced by White House budget director Jacob Lew – who Obama said had been personally recommended by Daley himself.

The Los Angeles Times said the delay in Daley’s retirement had been arranged so that he could continue the preparations for Obama’s State of the Union address, which is due in a fortnight’s time.

Daley comes from a well-known political family: his father and brother, both named Richard, served as mayor of Chicago for 21 and 22 years respectively.

Indeed, it was Richard Daley Jr’s retirement from that office which saw the former Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel, elected Mayor – leaving a vacancy which was then filled by Bill Daley.

Lew continues the Irish connection with the position, however: during a prolonged stint on Capitol Hill, Lew worked for the former Irish-American speaker of the House of Representatives, Tip O’Neill.

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About the author:

Gavan Reilly

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