Pete Rouse: Obama's next chief of staff?
UPDATE 9/30: Sources say that White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel will announce his resignation Friday, and that Pete Rouse will replace him at least in the interim.
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Pete Rouse is one of a number of White House advisers being named as a potential chief of staff, should Rahm Emanuel run for mayor of Chicago. CNN reported on Wednesday that Rouse could be made acting chief of staff until a permanent replacement is chosen.
On Wednesday, Sarah Palin commented on the possibility.
"Alaska's Pete Rouse (@ least he claims to be "Alaska")finally comes out of the shadows; Obama looks to appt him COS;strange doings in the WH," she wrote on Twitter.
It's not the first time Palin has referenced Rouse. In her book "Going Rogue," she suggested that he took the "change" theme from her 2006 campaign: "We were amused a couple of years later when Barack Obama - one of whose senior advisers (come to think of it) had roots in Alaska - adopted the same theme."
Palin also suggested that some of the problems she faced at home after the election could be traced back to Rouse.
For Palin, however, these aren't isolated incidents. She believes they grow from the same root, which is too big and too formidable to ignore. "A lot of this comes from Washington, D.C. [...]
Palin and her Alaska circle find evidence for their suspicions about the White House in the person of Pete Rouse, who lived in Juneau for a time before he became chief of staff to a young U.S. Senator named Barack Obama. Rouse, they note, is a friend of former Alaska state senator Kim Elton, who pushed the first ethics investigation of Palin, examining her controversial firing of the state's public-safety commissioner. Both Rouse and Elton have joined the Obama Administration.
Read more: http://swampland.blogs.time.com/2009/07/09/a-final-palin-post/#ixzz10ID8SehH
A veteran aide to former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.), Rouse joined Obama's Senate office in 2004, shortly after Daschle lost his re-election bid. He used to be called the 101st senator for his connections in and knowledge of Capitol Hill.
"Pete's very good at looking around the corners of decisions and playing out the implications of them," Obama told the Post during the campaign. "He's been around long enough that he can recognize problems and pitfalls a lot quicker than others can."
In an interview with PBS in 2008, he talked about his initial impression of Obama: "[Y]ou could tell that this guy was important to the future of the Democratic Party, in part because he's African American, but the major reason was because he had such intelligence, insights, spark. He had the magic; you can tell he had the magic."
Rouse was tapped by Obama in 2009 to oversee efforts to close Guantanamo Bay.
Rouse does have deep Alaska ties. His mother, the daughter of Japanese immigrants, grew up in Anchorage. He was born and raised on the East Coast, but he worked in Juneau for four years for the Republican lieutenant governor. ('I am more interested in what people stand for and what my philosophical compatibility is. I have found only one Republican. All the rest of them have been Democrats.," he told Roll Call in 2004.) Rouse still votes in Alaska. When he was working in the Senate, he helped connect Republicans in the state to Democratic members of Congress.
"Pete's very smart, highly skilled, and has always been totally square in our dealings," Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) told the Anchorage Daily News. "I expect we will agree on some issues and disagree on others, but having him at that level in the White House has to be good for our state."
| September 22, 2010; 4:18 PM ET
Categories: 2010 Election, 44 The Obama Presidency
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