A White House official confirms Podesta is returning as a "counselor" to Mr. Obama for one year.
This is the second significant addition to West Wing staff in three days: the White House announced late Friday former legislative director Phil Schiliro was returning on a shorter-term assignment to oversee the non-technical side of Obamacare implementation, including dealing with legislative issues, grassroots organizing and interacting with private insurers.
Podesta is the chair of the Center for American Progress, a left-leaning policy group that has close ties to the Obama administration. He is also a former adviser to Tom Daschle, the former Senate Democratic leader from whom Obama has inherited other trusted staffers.
Podesta will help Obama's chief of staff, Denis McDonough, on issues related to the healthcare law, executive orders and climate change.