White House Prepares for Life After Rahm

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Photo: Pete Souza/The White House via Getty Images

It's far from a surprising development at this point, but White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel is expected to step down as soon as this week, perhaps Friday, to explore a run for mayor of Chicago. As an influential component of President Obama's inner circle, Emanuel and his specific skill set — yelling at people, twisting the arms of legislators, Machiavellian thinking, getting 'er done — will be hard to replace. But replaced he must be! And said replacement, at least on an interim basis, is generally expected to be Pete Rouse, currently the deputy chief of staff.

According to CNN, Rouse, "who is known for not relishing the spotlight, has suggested he does not want the chief of staff post long-term." But according to Politico, he is nevertheless on the short list for permanent Emanuel replacements, so perhaps he's just playing hard to get. The two other names on the list are Deputy National Security Adviser Tom Donilon and Ron Klain, Joe Biden aide and real-life Recount star.

In other words, it's not going to be Extreme Makeover: White House Edition, which is how Obama wants it. Politico reports, "Obama feels little pressure to move outside the relatively small group of advisers and ex-campaign staffers who currently surround him" and prefers a "highly competent, no-frills staff manager" to someone with more star power, such as former majority leader Tom Daschle or CIA director Leon Panetta, two relatively high-profile names that have also been suggested as Emanuel replacements. Apparently Obama is more change-averse than he's let on.

Insider likely to replace Rahm Emanuel [Politico]
Source: Rouse favorite for acting White House chief of staff [Political Ticker/CNN]