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William Daley: Obama signals shift to center with pick for chief of staff

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The White House chief of staff, which does not require congressional confirmation, is one of the most influential posts in government, perhaps topped only by the president. All policy matters run through the chief of staff, who makes many decisions on the president’s behalf.

Style: Tough but fair

By all accounts, Daley is a good manager, with a different style from Mr. Emanuel’s.

“He is direct, and he can be very tough ... but he’s very friendly and fair,” says Matt Bennett, vice president for public affairs at Third Way, a moderate Democratic think tank on whose board Daley serves. “He’s nothing like Rahm, who I know very well. He doesn’t get all worked up and yell and scream.”

Mr. Bennett maintains that Daley’s policy differences with the Obama administration have now become irrelevant. Daley will do the president’s bidding, just as Vice President Joe Biden fell in line on Afghanistan, despite his reported lack of enthusiasm for the expanded US presence there. But liberals might still be concerned to know that Daley opposed Obama’s sweeping health-care reform and creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a biproduct of financial regulatory reform. Daley was calling for a tack to the center long before last November’s midterms.

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