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Clinton Names New Chief Of Staff

There's been more job shuffling at the White House.

In a Rose Garden ceremony Tuesday, President Clinton announced the appointment of John Podesta as chief of staff. Current Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles will step aside at the end of October.

Mr. Clinton described Podesta, a Chicago native, as a "strong manager and a skilled policymaker with a sharp mind, strong sense of courage, and a giving heart."

"He and his family have a taste for riding roller coasters. That will certainly serve him well here," the president said.

Podesta, 49, took the lectern with his wife, one of their three children, his mother and brother looking on from the audience. "How blessed I am to be able to give something back to our great country," Podesta said.

He framed his outlook on the new job in terms of his father, an immigrant to America who quit high school after one year to take a factory job and support his family.

"I know what it really means to work for the minimum wage and to count your raises in cents and not dollars. I know the difference a good public school can make in a person's life," Podesta said.

It was as a White House staff secretary during Mr. Clinton's first term that Podesta built the portfolio he still carries today. As one of two deputies to Bowles, Podesta has been the point man for Whitewater and other investigations swarming around the president. It was Podesta, at President Clinton's request, who prevailed upon then-U.N. Ambassador Bill Richardson to interview Monica Lewinsky for a New York job with the United Nations.

Before landing at the White House, Podesta ran a Washington political consulting company with his brother, Tony, and did a turn on Capitol Hill, where he was counsel to the House Judiciary Committee.

Bowles had planned to resign earlier in the year but stayed on to help Mr. Clinton with the Monica Lewinsky sex-and-perjury scandal. He joins Rahm Emanuel and Mike McCurry as the third senior White House staffer to step down within the past month.

Bowles was named the president's chief of staff in November 1996. He had previously served as deputy chief of staff.

A North Carolina native, Bowles is said to be considering running for governor there. He had previously served as head of the Small Business Administration for the Clinton administration and co-founded a merchant banking firm in 1996, Carousel Capital.

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