White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel will depart and be replaced by Pete Rouse, a senior adviser to President Obama who served as his chief of staff in the Senate, according to press reports.
The departure of Emanuel, one of President Obama's fiercest allies, had been expected amid rumors that the blunt-talking former Chicago congressman will run for mayor of his hometown. Emanuel played a key role in the passage of Obama's health care reform bill and earned a reputation as a bare-knuckled political operator. Republicans loathe him, and even some Democrats have been on the receiving end of his prickly personalty and partisan outbursts.
During his daily briefing, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs declined to confirm Emanuel's departure, saying only that Obama would make a "personnel announcement" at 11:05 Friday morning in the East Room.
Prior to working for then-Senator Obama, Rouse was a top aide to former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, who was defeated in 2004. Since then, Rouse has been a trusted adviser to Obama, though he is little known outside Washington, D.C.
Emanuel, who made over $16 million working for Wall Street firm Wasserstain Perella from 1998 to 2002, is widely believed to be planning a run for mayor of Chicago, after Richard Daley (D) announced earlier this year that his would conclude his long tenure in that position.