US & Canada

Washington's revolving door: who's in and who's out

Less than two years into President Barack Obama's term, a handful of top White House aides have headed for the door, including Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel.

Click on the new arrivals and their respective predecessors below to see who's in and who's out. And get to know those names - you'll be hearing them a lot more.

It is not that unusual for White House staff to turn over at this point in the election cycle, but Mr Obama had a particularly tight inner circle, that was reportedly difficult for newcomers to break into.

Advisers including David Axelrod and Robert Gibbs had been with the president since his first Senate campaign - long before he became a household name.

Now, that tight-knit group is dispersing, in part to help the 2012 re-election. The power balance in DC is shifting and a host of new faces will soon become ubiquitous in the West Wing, and no doubt on US cable channels.

In addition to the high-profile staffers above, there are several other names we are bound to hear more of:

  • Jim Messina is leaving his post as deputy chief of staff at the White House to head up Mr Obama's re-election bid from Chicago. He will be soon be joined by White House Social Secretary Julianna Smoot and Democratic National Committee executive director Jen O'Malley Dillon.
  • Ms Dillon will be replaced by White House Political Director Patrick Gaspard.
  • Mr Messina's White House role will be filled by Alyssa Mastromonaco, who is currently the director of scheduling.
  • Veteran Democratic strategist Stephanie Cutter, who did a short stint at the White House helping craft communications during the health care reform debate, will return in a new advisory role.
  • White House Legislative Director Phil Schiliro is expected to leave his role soon. He will be replaced by Rob Nabors.
  • White House Counsel Greg Craig led President Bill Clinton's defence during the impeachment trial and became close to Mr Obama during his campaign. Commentators speculate that he was forced out for his failure to close Guantanamo Bay. He was replaced by Bob Bauer.
  • Mr Obama's senior energy and climate change adviser Carol Browner has also announced her intention to step down, but her replacement has not been named.