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Obama to Make Major Staff Announcements

by Keith Koffler on January 25, 2013, 9:40 am

President Obama will make significant changes to the seating arrangements on the ship of state, appointing Deputy National Security Adviser Denis McDonough to be White House Chief of staff and tapping Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer to serve as “senior adviser.”

McDonough has little experience running anything, having served as a veteran Capitol Hill and Washington staffer and insider, but he is deeply trusted by the president. Pfeiffer, whose influence has already been thought to exceed the communications portfolio, will now officially serve as a kind of consigliere to the president, replacing the departing David Plouffe.

Pfeiffer recently suggested that Republicans and the U.S. system of government were not worthy of Obama’s agenda.

Deputy Communications Director Jennifer Palmieri, a veteran Democratic operative who served under Bill Clinton, will become the new communications chief, helping Obama rebut some of the murmuring that he has failed to put women in senior-level positions.

Since these are White House appointments, they do not require Congressional approval. Obama will announce the staff changes during an East Room event at 12:10 pm ET, which I will live stream for you.

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{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

Michael January 25, 2013 at 10:15 am

“McDonough has little experience running anything”

The president can certainly relate to that. It reflects his background.

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RT January 25, 2013 at 1:56 pm

Quick scan. Nope, nothing but bitterness and whining. Will check back later and see if there is something to learn or a conversation to have on something substantive.

Oh Az Granny. Right you are! Read on about what went “wrong”. Oh… The Senate was not “technically” in recess, so the appointments were invalid. Shame on someone in the Obama team. Whoever that is is going to have a bad day… :)

Say, wonder why President Obama does the ole recess appointment thing? Has the GOP ever done it? And, the NLRB? Really? Why are the appointments for such minor vacancies taking sooooooo long as well as more important ones? Oh. The REAL STORY. Maybe Keith can sniff that out and get us started.

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Otis Driftwood January 25, 2013 at 10:27 am

Now we know why he had nothing scheduled for today. Musical Chairs at the WH. Care to play?

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gracepmc January 25, 2013 at 10:43 am

Assume they all play nice with ValJar.

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Langley Spook January 25, 2013 at 2:51 pm

…dont p-o that Romulan

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Star January 25, 2013 at 11:00 am

How about that freaky guy who writes on his hand?

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Susan January 25, 2013 at 11:14 am

Perfect examples of the Peter Principle in action. Rising to their level of incompetence in government service.

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RT January 25, 2013 at 2:11 pm

Really Susan? Not the Peter Principle, which has been around forever.. a principle that does not know boundaries in terms of application – GOP folks included, but I digress.

Do you know the man – Denis with one “n”…? From what experience / inside information do you base your opinion? I think I have seen Denis before – where was it… Oh, he is seated as one of the few with our President when OBL was taken out… A young Washington survivor.

Who was the least experienced going into this job? Dick Cheney way back when…34 years old… That said, most say he did a pretty good job. Wonder how you measure that metric… Dunno. That said, he sure went on to do some things.

Back to whatever I was doing…

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Star January 25, 2013 at 3:02 pm

Tell us, oh great RT, which of these supercilious true believers would you trust with your life and happiness–because we are, you know.

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Susan January 25, 2013 at 5:09 pm

Must have touched a true believer nerve with my reference to the Peter Principle. By the way, how would this “young Washington survivor” stack up next to an Afghanistan or Iraq soldier? Send the little twerp (Denis with one n) to Kandahar Province, dress him in some desert camouflage, and hand him a gun. We’ll see how much of a survivor he is…

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RT January 25, 2013 at 6:38 pm

Star / Susan – My point is that Denis is just as qualified as any other name you can throw out there. Why? They serve at the request of the president. The president determines the qualifications.

The president will also determine the metrics upon which the performance will be measured. If Denis is around for a long time or gets promoted into some higher level position in the next 4 years – he did his job. If he, um, is sent packing in some Washington Press Releae citing “spend more time with family”, he failed.

And, to your question on trust with my life… A soldier over a politician any day – in a theatre of war. My family comes from a long line of people who have served. I have served in environments where decisions that were life / death occurred every day. My wife served, one of my son’s is active and just returned from deployment. Both my parents served, my Mom as a Wave. My Dad was shot down in WWII during action in the Pacific. Does this make me special. Hardly. Does give it me a bit of personal insight. Yes.

My experiences roll up into a worldview that is different than most that share this space. Not surprisingly, most like to flock to centers of conversation where they are among friends – you know – people that walk, talk, eat, drink, look, smell, react, and believe as they do… This phenomena is well researched and understood.

Back on task: re Denis – I believe in aspects of the simple Peter Principle. I mean, who would not. It, the principle, applies to people – not political party. I find it AMAZING that anyone with 1/2 of their brain engaged would “seriously” (the operative word) suggest that a 43 year old Washington insider who has bounced around and has a pretty comprehensive understanding of how it all works is DESTINED for failure. I contend that such one liner comments to that end meet one of two conditions: (a) they are without merit and biased (b) they have merit and the poster withheld significant insider knowledge as to why a sitting President would knowingly staff such a key position with someone that was destined to fail – to include all of the baggage and unpleasant press that would bring…

Let’s be real here. Leaders appoint / staff folks to serve an agenda. Agenda aside, the one common element is that they choose folks that they perceive will HELP them achieve a set of objectives or long-term goal. To that end, I think it would be prudent to suggest President Obama is doing just that. Picking a person that he believes will do the job well, i.e., advance his agenda. Period.

Which one is it? A third choice I missed?

~ RT

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AZ Granny January 25, 2013 at 11:27 am

Well, it looks like he needs to go back to the drawing board since the Federal Appeals Court ruled his NLRB recess appointment was unconstitutional. I wonder if he’ll remark on that this afternoon.

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lc southern January 25, 2013 at 2:38 pm

That was an interesting ruling. Finally a Federal Court tells him he overstepped his powers.

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Susan January 25, 2013 at 11:49 am

“Obama will announce the staff changes during an East Room event at 12:10 pm ET, which I will live stream for you.”

Why does he always choose to perform his dog and pony shows right at the start of Rush Limbaugh’s program? Sure am glad we splurged on that Rush 24/7 membership.

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Otis Driftwood January 25, 2013 at 12:42 pm

I feel sorry for everyone on the wrong coast, having to “wake up” with Obama. Oh wait, I’m sorry, they like him out there.

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CiscoKid January 25, 2013 at 12:31 pm

Another talking mannequin takes the stage, or that be puppet.?
Anybody see any strings.?

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RickW January 25, 2013 at 5:17 pm

“Burt Reynolds has been hospitalized in a Florida ICU for the flu!” That trumps Obama’s announcements today in my eyes. And I’m sure RT would agree with me

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