White House Chief of Staff to Step Down After Election

Posted October 11, 2011 at 4:03pm

White House Chief of Staff William Daley told a Chicago television station this week that he intends to leave the administration after the 2012 presidential election.

“I made a commitment with the president through his re-election, which I am confident he will do, and then my wife and I will be back in Chicago,” Daley told NBC News affiliate WMAQ in an interview posted online Monday.

The former JPMorgan Chase executive arrived in Washington at the beginning of this year, filling the large shoes of Rahm Emanuel, who left the White House to launch a successful bid to succeed Daley’s brother as mayor of the Windy City.

Daley’s tenure in Washington has been a difficult one, with multiple government shutdown threats and a Congressional battle over raising the nation’s debt ceiling this summer. And it has not been without criticism. Whereas Emanuel was hands-on in his dealings with Hill leaders — as a former Representative, he was unabashed about leaning on existing Congressional contacts — Daley would often send his top lieutenants to deal with Democrats down Pennsylvania Avenue.

During the debt ceiling debate, Office of Management and Budget Director Jacob Lew and top presidential economic adviser Gene Sperling made regular visits to the Capitol in Daley’s place. Emanuel had been a constant presence during his major legislative battles, regularly attending closed-door meetings on health care reform and frequently working out in the House’s Members-only gym.

Daley did not reveal to WMAQ much about his post-White House plans, other than that he will move back to the Midwest.

“The beauty of this job, to be very frank with you, is that it’s probably the only job I’ve ever had where I have not thought about what’s next,” Daley said. “It may be because it’s so consuming. … It’s like light-years away, but it’s not something I give any thought to, what’s next after this.”

In another local television interview Monday, Illinois Sens. Dick Durbin (D) and Mark Kirk (R) were asked about Daley’s job performance.

Durbin and Kirk both praised Daley in their appearance on WTTW’s “Chicago Tonight,” although Kirk noted the reports of a strain between the chief of staff and Democratic leaders. Durbin, the No. 2 Senate Democrat, said he talks to Daley every other day and that the Chicago native has been effective.

“Bill Daley — who wants to follow Rahm Emanuel? And that was his job, to come in there and try to follow this man, with his energy and background,” Durbin said. “Bill Daley brings a real quality to this — his background in business, his background as a manager of a national presidential campaign, having served in a presidential Cabinet, it’s a lot of good experience. … He’s in a very positive way helping the president.”