President Obama is planning the first major reorganization of his administration and preparing to shuffle several positions at the White House come January, the Times reported Thursday evening. (The story comes on the heels of last week’s similar Politico report.) White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs will probably either become a senior adviser to the president or work outside the White House altogether, “defending Obama on television and beginning to define the field of 2012 Republican presidential candidates,” the Times says. Gibbs would probably be replaced by Jay Carney, a spokesman for Vice President Biden, or Bill Burton, a deputy press secretary. Meanwhile, a reshaping of the president’s economic team is in the works, and Obama’s expected to name a new National Economic Council director. That position will likely go to Gene Sperling, who held it in the Clinton administration. (Sperling would succeed Lawrence H. Summers.) And, as expected, David Plouffe, who managed Obama’s presidential campaign and has remained one of the president’s closest confidants, will replace David Axelrod as Obama’s chief political adviser, when Axelrod leaves the White House next month.
Formal announcements and other staff changes are expected to come in the first few days of the new year and, of course, the changes are reportedly making West Wing staffers nervous. But new blood is needed, David Axelrod says: “This is a bubble. It’s been an intense couple of years, and there’s an advantage to bringing in folks who have a fresh set of senses — smell, touch and feel — about what’s going on out there.” Ambitious second-tier White House staffers, get your resumes ready.