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Obama Praises Bill Daley's "Forward Looking Vision"

Barack Obama, Bill Daley
Barack Obama and Bill Daley, new White House chief of staff, Jan. 6, 2011 AP

Updated at 3:35 p.m. ET

President Obama today announced he is naming William Daley his new chief of staff.

"Few Americans can boast the breadth of experience that Bill brings to this job," Mr. Obama said from the White House.

Daley, a JPMorgan Chase & Co. executive who previously served as commerce secretary under President Clinton, has a "deep understanding of how jobs are created," the president said. He praised his new chief of staff's "experience, strong values and forward-looking vision."

Mr. Obama joked that Daley, a part of the famous political dynasty from Mr. Obama's home town of Chicago, has "a smidgen of awareness of how our system of government works. You might say it is a genetic trait."

Daley said it was an honor for him to accept the position, vacated by Rahm Emanuel last fall. He told Mr. Obama, "You, Mr. President, have proven your strength, your leadership, your vision during a most difficult time for the nation."

Both Daley and Mr. Obama had profuse praise for Peter Rouse, who served as Mr. Obama interim chief of staff after Emanuel left the White House. Rouse, who reportedly did not want to stay on the job, will remain at the White House in the job of counselor to the president.

Mr. Obama called Rouse a "unique and indispensable asset to me and this administration."

He added, "I cannot imagine life here without him."

Rouse helped Mr. Obama set its strategy over last year's congressional lame duck session, and he advised the president on how to restructure the White House over the next two years as Mr. Obama looks to sharpen his focus on job creation and economic recovery.

The business community, in spite of its sometimes contentious relationship with the Obama administration, has responded positively to Daley's appointment.

"Bill Daley is a man of stature and extraordinary experience in government, business, trade negotiations, and global affairs," U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Thomas Donohue said in a statement. "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."

Some liberal activists and pundits, however, are wary of Daley's ties to Wall Street, as well as his moderate views. Daley has expressed disapproval for the president's health care reforms and reportedly for Wall Street reform as well.

"This was a real mistake by the White House," said Adam Green, co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee. "Bill Daley consistently urges the Democratic Party to pursue a corporate agenda that alienates both Independent and Democratic voters. If President Obama listens to that kind of political advice from Bill Daley, Democrats will suffer a disastrous 2012."

The Republican Party is attacking Daley for previously serving on the board for Fannie Mae, the mortgage giant Republicans have said they want to reform.

Daley's appointment comes amid a broader White House staff shake up, which is typical two years into an administration. White House adviser David Axelrod is moving to Chicago to work on Mr. Obama's re-election, and White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs announced his departure this week. Mr. Obama's deputy chiefs of staff, Jim Messina and Mona Sutphen, are also leaving. David Plouffe, Mr. Obama's presidential campaign manager, will be joining the senior staff of the White House next week.

"The president's needs over the next two years are going to be significantly different than the president's needs over the past two, so he needs a different cast of people and a different structure," CBS News Chief Political Consultant Marc Ambinder said. "What Obama needs over the next two years are staffers who can help him communicate better with the public and can manage effectively the executive branch."

Chief of staff is one of the most demanding jobs in the White House; Daley will influence everything from how Mr. Obama spends his time to how he pursues his domestic and foreign policies.

Watch CBS News Senior White House Correspondent Bill Plante discuss the appointment on's Washington Unplugged:


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