President Barack Obama meets with interim Chief of Staff Pete Rouse in the Oval Office, Oct. 4, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
Washington, D.C. (October 1, 2010) – President Barack H. Obama at a White House news conference Friday, named Peter M. Rouse as Interim Chief of Staff to replace Rahm Emanuel. Obama said that staff members like Emanuel, Rouse, and hundreds of others sometimes often get little attention or credit. He called them people who give up incredibly lucrative opportunities, and they and their families make enormous sacrifices to work long days to do the best possible job on behalf of the American people.
“I am very fortunate to be able to hand the baton to my wise, skillful, and longtime counselor, Pete Rouse,” said Obama. “Pete, who has more than 30 years of experience in public service, will serve as interim chief of staff as we enter the next phase of our administration.”
Rouse previously served as Senior Advisor to Obama, and as a co-chair of the Obama-Biden Transition Project in 2008. He was also a senior adviser to Illinois Senator Obama prior to his presidency.
Known as the “101st Senator” for his extensive knowledge of Congress, Rouse served as chief of staff to members of the United States Congress for more than thirty years. Before joining President Obama’s Senate office in 2004, he was chief of staff to former Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD) for 19 years. He also served as chief of staff to then-Rep. Dick Durbin of Illinois (1984-85) and Lt. Governor Terry Miller of Alaska (1979-83).
Obama said that from the moment he became a U.S. senator, that Rouse became one of his closest and most essential advisors. He named him chief of staff in the Senate and credits Rouse with helping orchestrate and advise the presidential campaign and as a senior White House advisor.
“And in that role, he’s taken on a series of management and legislative challenges with his customary clarity and common purpose,” he added. “There is a saying around the White House, let’s let Pete fix it. And he does. Pete’s known as a skillful problem-solver, and the good news for him is that we have plenty of problems to solve.”
Born to a Japanese American immigrant mother on April 15, 1946 in New Haven, Connecticut, Rouse received a B.A. from Colby College, an M.A. from the London School of Economics, and an M.P.A. from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.