Who Will Replace Rahm Emanuel?

Pundits float possible successors

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With White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel expected to leave this week to run for mayor of Chicago, pundits and reporters are exploring who might replace Emanuel in this crucial White House post. As always, Washington's favorite parlor game is filled with advocacy, speculation, and plenty of anonymous "sources" feeding reporters their personal choices. The interim replacement is widely expected to be Pete Rouse, a senior administration adviser. Here's what people are saying about the permanent replacement.

  • Pete Rouse Will Go Permanent  The Moderate Voice's Jon Wells suggests, "Pete Rouse is being tossed around as a potential successor to Rahm. It’s a safe pick, especially since he served as Obama’s chief of staff as a Senator, having also worked on the staff of then-Majority Leader Tom Daschle. The Washington Post in 2007 dubbed him the Outsider’s Insider, portraying him as a crafty veteran who guided a green Obama through the rigors of the first few years of Washington in preparation for a Presidential run. Others might throw around Valerie Jarrett as a possibility, but Rouse’s previous experience seem to make him a shoo-in – and possibly more pragmatic."

  • Will Be Another Obama Insider  Politico's Glenn Thrush, Mike Allen, and Carol Lee write, "He's leaning toward someone already inside the Obama bubble rather than an outsider who would shake up the West Wing, people close to him say. ... The expected vacancy at chief of staff would give Obama a chance to remake the West Wing at a critical moment – facing potentially devastating losses on Capitol Hill, a mini-exodus of exhausted staffers and what could be viewed as the starting gun of his own 2012 re-election campaign. But Obama’s history suggests that he is unlikely to offer sacrificial lambs – or dramatic gestures — after the midterms, no matter how deep the Democratic losses. Instead, he views top-level departures as an opportunity to refine his team rather than signal a radical change in direction."
  • Should Be an Outsider  The Guardian's Michael Tomasky urges, "As I've said before, I think Obama needs to see that he needs people around him who weren't on the campaign or his Senate staff, don't have that attachment to him and have only an attachment to results. Of course Emanuel was supposed to be that person, but he has a different problem, just of being a jerk to too many people."
  • Pick Tom Donilon  The Daily Beast's Richard Wolffe advocates, "He's 'the White House official with the greatest influence on the day-to-day workings of national-security policy,' according to The New York Times. He's also known for his 'impulsive statements and snap judgments,' and would be a 'disaster' if he ever rose above his job as deputy national-security adviser, according to Bob Woodward’s new book, Obama’s Wars. Will the real Thomas Donilon please stand up—in time for America to decide whether this little-known but widely discussed Washington player deserves his place on the short list for the some of the most important jobs in government—including White House chief of staff, a job now held by Rahm Emanuel, who may decide to exit as early as this week?"
  • David Plouffe, to Appease Liberals  Conservative blogger Allahpundit writes, "Given how close we are to the election and how sore liberals are at him these days, I wonder if O will look to bring in someone with lefty cred to appease them. ABC floats David Plouffe as a possibility. Won’t he be too busy running Obama’s perpetual presidential campaign to run the White House day to day? And won’t his obvious interest in repositioning O a bit further to the center policy-wise ahead of 2012 mean he’ll be a total bust with the liberals his appointment would be designed to placate?"
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.