Obama’s New Chief Of Staff: The Final Candidates Emerge

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama is in what appears to be the final stages of choosing a new White House Chief of Staff from among the following candidates, in approximate descending order of likelihood, according to a very highly placed…

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama is in what appears to be the final stages of choosing a new White House Chief of Staff from among the following candidates, in approximate descending order of likelihood, according to a very highly placed administration source: Acting Chief of Staff Pete Rouse, former Clinton Commerce Secretary Bill Daley, former South Dakota Sen. Tom Daschle and — a dark horse candidate — Agriculture Secretary and former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack.

Each has strengths and weaknesses, the source said, and it is possible that all four will be offered — or will accept — some role other than chief of staff. “The president has been talking to all of them and it is fluid,” said the source, who declined to be named because he is close to the talks.

Speculation has focused on Daley, a banker and brother of the outgoing mayor of Chicago. He is the favorite of former chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, now running for Chicago mayor. Daley and Emanuel have been proteges for years. Just as important, perhaps, Daley is very close to Vice President Joe Biden. Daley was a key advisor and supporter in Biden’s first presidential campaign in 1988.

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