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.

William Daley Rahm Emanuel Jay Carney Robert Gibbs Dan Pfeiffer Ellen Moran & Anita Dunn David Plouffe David Axelrod Tom Donilon General James Jones Gene Sperling Larry Summers Jacob Lew Peter Orszag Austan Goolsbee Christina Romer Graphic showing Incoming and Outgoing senior Whitehouse advisers

William Daley

Incoming Chief of Staff

Mr Daley's father and brother each served as mayor of Chicago - a powerful position in Democratic politics. But, aside from a short period working for President Clinton and then Al Gore's presidential bid, he has spent most of his life working in the financial sector.

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Jay Carney

Incoming Press Secretary

Jay Carney, a 20-year veteran of Time magazine, was once a fixture in Washington's journalism establishment, reporting on foreign policy and politics before becoming the Washington bureau chief for Time magazine. He put his experience to good use when he leaped to the other side of the podium, becoming the spokesman for Vice-President Joe Biden following the 2008 election. He quickly rose to be a respected voice within the administration..
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Dan Pfeiffer

Incoming Communications Director

Mr Pfeiffer worked for a string of high profile Democrats - including Al Gore and Tom Daschle - before landing in the Obama campaign. He was promoted from deputy director after Ms Dunn left. He is married to Mr Emanuel's former senior adviser.

David Plouffe

Incoming Senior Adviser

Mr Plouffe has worked for Mr Axelrod's communications firm for many years, taking a break only to manage Mr Obama's 2008 campaign. After that success, he is considered one of America's most skilled political strategists. He will formally begin advising the White House after Mr Axelrod leaves.

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Tom Donilon

Incoming National Security Adviser

A veteran of numerous presidential campaigns, Mr Donilon worked in the State Department in the 1990s. Associates say he became a trusted Obama adviser as deputy national security adviser. His wife and brother work for Vice-President Biden.

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Gene Sperling

Incoming National Economic council Director

Mr Sperling has been nicknamed "Gene the Machine" for his tireless work. He was President Clinton's chief economic adviser in the 1990s and most recently worked for Treasury Secretary Geithner.

Jacob Lew

Incoming Office of Management and Budget Director

Lew also once worked for Citigroup, as well as serving as budget director in the Clinton administration. Most recently he served under Hillary Clinton at the Department of State.

Austan Goolsbee

Incoming Council of Economic Advisers Chair

Few were surprised when the lanky economist was promoted from a member of the council to its chairman after Ms Romer's departure. Witty and articulate, Mr Goolsbee is a regular spokesperson on television.

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Rahm Emanuel

Outgoing Chief of Staff

Mr Obama's hard-charging, tough-talking chief of staff left the White House to fulfil a long-held dream of running for mayor of his hometown, Chicago.

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Robert Gibbs

Outgoing Press Secretary

After working as Mr Obama's press secretary since 2004, Mr Gibbs has decided to take a break, and possibly earn some decent money, working as a communications consultant. He will continue to advise Mr Obama from his new perch outside the White House.

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Ellen Moran & Anita Dunn

Outgoing Communications Director

Ms Moran, one of the few senior women in the White House lasted less than three months. Some speculated she had a hard time breaking in to Mr Obama's tight-knit inner circle. She's now chief of staff at the Commerce Department.

Ms Dunn, a well known and highly regarded Democratic operative, agreed to take the role on an interim basis. She is rumoured to be in the running to be the next White House press secretary.

David Axelrod

Outgoing Senior Adviser

After serving as his media adviser since 2004, Chicago's Mr Axelrod is about as close to Mr Obama as anyone in the White House. His position in the administration is his first in Washington. The former journalist will return to the Windy City soon to help run Mr Obama's re-election campaign.

General James Jones

Outgoing National Security Adviser

Mr Jones's departure was the subject of rumours long before it eventuated. A newcomer to Mr Obama's inner circle, he was reported to be a poor fit. The general had a celebrated 40 year military career.

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Larry Summers

Outgoing National Economic Council Director

A well-regarded economist and experienced presidential adviser, the cantankerous Mr Summers reportedly had difficult relations with Mr Obama's other advisers. He returned to teach at Harvard in 2011.

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Peter Orszag

Outgoing Office of Management and Budget Director

The budget director, who made headlines as much for his personal as professional life, is now earning the big bucks as a Vice Chairman for Citigroup. He's also a columnist for the New York Times.

Christina Romer

Outgoing Council of Economic Advisers Chair

Cheery Christina Romer played a pivotal role in crafting and overseeing the stimulus package. She returned to her teaching role at the University of California, Berkeley, in late 2010, as she had long planned.

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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.