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Obama agenda: Meet Pete Rouse

The Washington Post front-pages: "Few people outside Washington, and not many inside, have heard the name Pete Rouse. The man President Obama will name as his interim White House chief of staff on Friday is a quiet political player who avoids the spotlight. He does not suit up for the Sunday talk shows; there are no stories about him reducing staff members to tears for their slip-ups. He is in many ways the opposite of Rahm Emanuel, the brash chief of staff he will replace."

The New York Times: "Senior aides to Mr. Obama described Mr. Rouse as a temporary pick, but one who is likely to stay for several months and may in the end turn out to be the president’s final choice. Mr. Rouse has expressed reservations about holding the job for an extended period. The decision to tap Mr. Rouse reflects a desire by the president to maintain his small circle of close advisers for now rather than bringing in an outsider or elder statesman to present a new face as Mr. Obama heads into the second half of his term with his popularity down and his party facing the possibility of big losses in November. Known as a fixer inside the White House, Mr. Rouse has had a largely unseen hand in most of the president’s big policy decisions of the last 20 months."

The AP adds, “Those close to him say that he provides what Obama needs -- a sharp and strategic mind, a sense of continuity, a knack for troubleshooting and an ability to keep people focused on their tasks. Rouse served for years as chief of staff to then-Senate Democratic leader Tom Daschle and is known on Capitol Hill, but he won't be found schmoozing at political dinners.”


National Journal’s Brownstein on Emanuel and what to expect from his mayoral bid: “Washington typecasts all of its leading players, and Emanuel’s sharp edges and kinetic maneuvers have defined him as a tactician whose only fixed star is success. It’s true that he has always prized achievement over purity. But the focus on his tactical agility can obscure the consistency of his own policy compass. If, as appears imminent, Emanuel leaves Washington to seek the Chicago mayoralty, the themes of his campaign would inevitably reflect the ideas that he advanced within the Obama administration—which in turn were influenced by lessons he absorbed during his first White House tour under Bill Clinton.”

Deputy Press Secretary Bill Burton, who worked with Emanuel at the DCCC said of him, per The Hill: “Because of a little salty language and a highly frenetic style, Rahm has been somewhat inaccurately caricatured. Rahm is a guy who does work hard, but also takes a keen interest in the lives of the people around him and cares deeply about the families of his employees.”

Another White House official: “When Rahm says ‘I’m going to f—king kill you,’ it’s funny.”

Here’s bio info on Emanuel from the AP.

One question the White House has to ask itself: How did a stimulus that provided plenty of good news (averted a depression, created or saved millions of jobs, sparked economic growth) become such a short-term political loser? The Washington Post notes more good news about the unpopular stimulus: “The massive economic stimulus package President Obama pushed through Congress last year is coming in on time and under budget - and with strikingly few claims of fraud or abuse - according to a White House report to be released Friday.”

And former Xerox CEO Ann Mulcahy said on CNBC that she doesn’t think should be “a good fit” to replace Larry Summers as Obama’s top economic adviser: "I think that's not a good fit for me," Mulcahy said. "I think I have a role right now. My plate's pretty full."