Obama adviser David Axelrod denies rumors of his imminent departure from White House

Jon Ward Contributor
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Senior White House adviser David Axelrod on Wednesday denied rumors that he will leave the White House after the midterm elections, despite whispers from those close to the administration that he may be next to leave.

“I’ll be here well into 2011. At some point, I’ll leave to work on reelect,” Axelrod said in an e-mail.

Two sources close to the White House told The Daily Caller that Axelrod would be most likely to become the next top aide to depart Obama’s side after the midterm elections.

“He’s always been one of those, ‘Honey, I’ll be gone for two years and home for dinner’ guys,” said one.

A second Washington Democrat in regular contact with the White House said that Axelrod is “very likely” to return to Chicago by the end of the year.

There has been some speculation in recent weeks that Axelrod would leave to go back to his wife and children in Chicago, as well as his political consulting firm AKP&D Message and Media. The fact that he renewed the lease on his home through most of 2011 was enough to quiet such talk.

Axelrod said Wednesday that he is “not leaving anytime soon.”

But both sources who spoke with TheDC said Axelrod has said from the beginning of his time at the White House that he would only be in Washington for two years.

Whenever Axelrod leaves, he is likely to keep one foot in White House affairs, as White House communications director Anita Dunn does.

Obama has been hit with an acceleration of top counselors leaving the White House. So far, it has been the president’s economic team that has lost top talent.

Larry Summers, the president’s most influential economic adviser and a treasury secretary in the Clinton administration, announced Tuesday he would be departing later this fall. Budget director Peter Orszag and Christina Romer, chair of the Council of Economic Advisers, left over the summer.

And White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel is likely to leave the administration no later than early next year, even if he decides not to run for mayor of Chicago, in which case he would depart sooner.

The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday morning that the top candidates to replace Summers are former Xerox Chief Executive Anne Mulcahy, Clinton-era CEA Chair Laura Tyson and Dianna Farrell, the deputy under Summers at the National Economic Council.

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