Obama's Chief of Staff Steps Down

Budget director Jack Lew will take over from Bill Daley.

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William Daley and White House Press Secretary Jay Carney (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

At the beginning of a crucial year for President Obama, his chief of staff, William Daley, is stepping down. He'll be replaced with budget director Jack Lew, the Chicago Tribune is reporting today. "I have been honored to be a small part of your administration," Daley said in a Jan. 3 letter to the president.  He reportedly held firm to his decision after Obama asked him to take 24 hours to think it over.

After a year of watching him battle with Republicans over the debt ceiling and other budget issues, we really can't blame Daley for wanting leave D.C. for his hometown of Chicago.

Obama plans to announce the change in leadership in a public event Monday afternoon. The official shift will take place at the end of the month, giving Lew time to complete the administration’s budget proposal while Daley leads the team through the crafting of the State of the Union address due in two weeks.

The choice of Lew puts a veteran staffer of the White House, Capitol Hill and State Department in a critical position at a difficult time for the president. Obama hopes he can work through tough budget and economic issues with Congress this year despite fierce opposition from Republicans in the GOP-led House. Having a strong team captain who can deal with lawmakers, staffers and business leaders is considered crucial to their strategy.

But aides say Obama had faith in Daley to lead that effort, and that he had not been discussing making any changes prior to last week. Daley’s letter took the president by surprise, said three officials familiar with the personnel discussions that followed. They requested anonymity to speak about the internal talks in advance of the public announcement.

Read more at the Chicago Tribune.

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