Opinion: Will Obama call in a Daley to try to salvage the next two years?

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In an obvious effort to broaden the representation of Chicagoans and former Clinton aides in his administration, President Obama has reportedly begun talks to bring William Daley into the White House as a top assistant, possibly even as chief of staff.

Obama’s first chief of staff was Rahm Emanuel, a former House member from Chicago’s North Side who has returned to Chicago to become mayor.

He can do this because Richard M. Daley, the brother of William Daley, has decided to retire this winter from his City Hall political throne where he’s run the Windy City’s vaunted Democratic machine for a generation, or about as long as Richard J. Daley, the father of Richard M. and William.

Neither of the Richard Daleys nor William Daley should be confused with Valerie Jarrett, who was City Hall chief of staff for Richard M. and once hired Michelle Robinson as an aide. She....


...went on to become Michelle Obama and then first lady of the United States and hired her Chicago friend and fundraiser Desiree Rogers as social secretary before leading Chicago’s delegation to Copenhagen to not capture the 2016 Olympics.

Rogers, however, comes from a different faction of the Chicago party than Jarrett, so she eventually had to go. But everyone should know that it wasn’t Rogers’ screw-up over letting into the Obamas’ first state dinner that annoying Salahi couple, who are luckily not from Chicago or they might have trouble with garbage collection, among other city services.

Another top Obama aide, David Axelrod, is also from Chicago.

He covered this crowd for the Tribune there before entering political consulting and helping elect many Democrats all over. But Axelrod did not help Rod Blagojevich, the impeached Illinois Democratic governor whose father-in-law is a powerful city alderman and who used to hold the North Side House district that Emanuel inherited. Axelrod, who’s already begun planning Obama’s reelection campaign, will return to Chicago in time for the Sox opener.

So, Obama will be down a couple of Bulls fans. Enter William Daley, the 62-year-old executive with JP Morgan Chase & Co., who could help Obama repair frayed relations with the business community in time for 2012 fundraising. As Democrats go, Daley has a reputation as much more of a political centrist and pragmatist than the ex-state senator.

And, oh look, as it happens Daley, like Emanuel, worked for President Bill Clinton, who has a reputation as much more of an engaging politician than the current Oval Office occupant. Daley served Clinton as secretary of Commerce.

Hopefully, any upcoming Obama news conference with the former Commerce secretary will not be marred by what happened to Daley at this 1996 White House event when Clinton announced his new Cabinet members.


In this C-SPAN video below here, keep your eyes on Daley. He’s the bald Chicago-looking fellow standing behind Bill Richardson’s shoulder. (Or watch the video over here.)

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Video courtesy of C-SPAN Archives