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William M. Daley Contender for Chief of Staff

President Al Gore's 2000 Campaign Manager William Daley during a brief press conference in Nashville, Tenn., Wednesday, Nov. 8, 2000.
William Daley during a press conference in Nashville, Tenn., in this Nov. 8, 2000, file photo.
William M. Daley, a former Commerce Secretary under President Clinton and a current JPMorgan Chase & Co. executive, is a serious contender to be the next White House chief of staff.

He met with President Obama in December and spoke with him on the phone at least once more last month.

Mr. Obama has considered several candidates in total. The only other leading candidate is interim chief of staff Pete Rouse who doesn't really want the job.

Why Daley? A Democrat briefed by the White House Monday night says that Mr. Obama figures that because adding jobs to the economy is his top priority, he needs someone with close ties to the American business community and recognizes that no one advising him now really commands the respect that Daley would.

Mr. Obama picked Rahm Emanuel in part because of Emanuel's congressional know-how. Because Republicans in Congress won't help the president much, Mr. Obama doesn't need a chief of staff who can finesse that branch of government.