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Every White House has a senior staffer who shuns publicity and likes to stay out of the news. But not many White Houses have had anyone quite as low-key as Rodriguez. The job of assistant to the president and director of legislative affairs usually goes to someone well-known to key members of Congress. But Rodriguez, 41, doesn't fit that mold. Even some members of the Democratic leadership privately admit they don't know him. And he's no better known to Republicans in the House. As recently as March, aides to top Republican leaders there told The Washington Post they don't know him. He is known, though, by the only person who really matters — President Obama, who is reported to view Rodriguez's low profile as a positive because it means he has no scars from the president's first term. The son of a Chilean mother and a Colombian father, Rodriguez grew up in Montgomery County, Md., and worked there as a clerk in the Office of the Public Defender. Before joining Obama's team, Rodriguez worked in the Senate office of Hillary Rodham Clinton, moving with her to the State Department in 2009. There, he was a deputy assistant secretary working with the Senate and overseeing the confirmation of appointments. In October 2011, he moved to the White House legislative-affairs shop that he now heads. Rodriguez is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania.

This article is from the archive of our partner National Journal.

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