Ten things you need to know about Obama’s new chief of staff, William Daley

Amanda Carey Contributor
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President Obama thinks his new chief of staff, William Daley, is just what his administration needs. “He [Daley] will bring his tremendous experience, strong values, and forward-looking vision to this White House,” Obama said Thursday. “I’m convinced he’ll help us in our mission of growing our economy and moving America forward and I very much look forward to working with bill in the years to come.”

Here are are 10 things The Daily Caller thought you should know about the White House’s new gatekeeper:

1He’s the other Daley. William (Bill to friends) is part of the Daley political dynasty. His brother, Richard M. Daley is Chicago’s outgoing mayor. First elected in 1989, Richard junior is the longest-serving mayor in the city’s history, surpassing the tenure of their father, Richard J. Daley, who served from 1955 to 1976. Many in Obama’s administration got their starts with the Daleys, including David Axelrod, Valerie Jarrett and former Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel — who’s now looking to return to his hometown as mayor himself.

2.  He makes liberals angry. Even before Daley’s appointment became official, the left lit up in opposition. The Washington Post’s Ezra Klein wrote: “The Daley pick seems like a bad idea to me. The particular theory of politics he espouses seems woefully detached from the realities of the modern partisan environment.” Moveon.org’s Justin Ruben told the Washington Examiner he finds the appointment “troubling” because of Daley’s position at JP Morgan. “It’s up to Daley to prove that he’s not carrying water in the White House for the big banks that took our economy over the cliff,” said Ruben.

3.   Business and the right seem to think he’s okay. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters on Thursday he viewed Daley’s appointment as a “hopeful sign” that there will be someone in the administration who can run more than a “lemonade stand.”  “This is a guy who’s actually been out in the private sector, been a part of business,” said McConnell. “Frankly, my first reaction is that it sounds like a good idea.” Chamber of Commerce President Thomas Donohue called it a “strong appointment.”

4.  He believes in a big tent. Daley penned an op-ed for the Washington Post in 2009 that warned Democrats that drifting to the left would cost them in the midterm elections. Daley argued that part of the reason Democrats were successful in 2008 was because of moderates who believed they would “welcome a diversity of views even on tough issues.” Ignoring that, Daley wrote, means political defeat.

5.  He once faceplanted into Bill Richardson. File this one under “C-SPAN classics.” In 1996, President Clinton nominated Daley to be secretary of commerce, replacing Bill Richardson. During the televised announcement, Daley fainted and fell onto Richardson, who was in the middle of his parting speech. At first, time stood still. Richardson looked bewildered, then Vice President Al Gore rushed to Daley’s aid, followed by Clinton, who’s desire to help prompted him to say, “Where’s my doctor?” Watch the video here:

6.  He was chairman of Al Gore’s presidential campaign in 2000. Some view Daley’s role in the Gore campaign as less than effective. He reportedly threw in the towel during the recount earlier than most and tried to convince Gore to just concede. And some blame Daley for losing the the media war and failing to adequately attack third-party candidate Ralph Nader during the campaign. Daley reportedly told Gore, “Look, you got screwed … but people get screwed every day. They don’t have a remedy … there’s nothing you can do about it.”

7.  He was an outspoken critic of the health-care bill. Obama’s new chief of staff openly criticized what the president considers to be his greatest legislative achievement. Last year, he was quoted in the New York Times saying “They miscalculated on health care. The election of ’08 sent a message that after 30 years of center-right governing, we had moved to center left — not left.”

8.  And he opposed the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. During the debate earlier last year about the need for financial reform and the Frank-Dodd Act, Daley opposed creating an entity tasked with consumer protection. When then-Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel called Daley at JP Morgan, asking for the bank’s support on the issue, Daley told him no, even going so far as to lobby Emanuel to drop the idea altogether.

9.  Speaking of opposing financial reform … It’s not all that surprising, considering Daley served on the board of the mortgage giant Fannie Mae. The government-backed entity was blamed for much of the 2008 financial meltdown, though it was noticeably left out of reform in the Frank-Dodd bill. This particular aspect of Daley’s past definitely does not do much to soothe the left’s fears that he is not, in fact, too cozy with Wall Street and others who are blamed with wrecking the U.S. economy.

10.   In 1988, he apparently didn’t like the “black party.” In his memoir, the late political reporter Robert Novak ousted Daley as the source of the quote, “For those of us who watched television, what they saw looked like a black party.” The quote was sourced to an anonymous Midwestern Democrat, who was commenting on Michael Dukakis’s failure, during the ’88 Democratic convention, of keeping Jesse Jackson’s profile low. Novak was careful, however, to assure the public that “William Daley was no racist”.