WASHINGTON (AP) - In a jolt to the White House, President Barack Obama announced Monday that chief of staff William Daley was quitting and heading home, capping a short and rocky tenure that had been expected to last until Election Day. Obama budget chief Jack Lew, a figure long familiar with Washington's ways, will take over one of the most consuming jobs in America.
Daley's run as Obama's chief manager and gatekeeper lasted only a year.
It was filled with consequential moments for the White House, like the killing of al-Qaida terrorist leader Osama bin Laden, but also stumbles with Congress and grumbles that Daley was not the right choice to coordinate an intense operation of ideas, egos and decisions.
Obama said he reluctantly accepted the news and at first refused to accept Daley's post-holidays resignation letter last week.
Daley did not waver, expressing to his boss a desire to get back to his family in Chicago, where Daleys have dominated local politics for decades. But he offered no explanation on Monday about what accelerated his decision; he had committed to Obama that he would stay on through the election.
It apparently became clear that the fit was no longer working for either side. Senior adviser Pete Rouse had already taken on more of the day-to-day management.
Stepping in is the mild-mannered Lew, who began his career on Capitol Hill, where he spent nearly a decade as principal domestic policy adviser to House Speaker Tip O'Neill. Lew has worked for Obama as a deputy secretary of state before becoming budget director, the same position he held in the Clinton administration.