The Villagers Are All Aflutter Over The Prospect Of William Daley Joining The Obama Administration


You've got to love it when CNN puts the "BREAKING NEWS!" banner on a story that's not yet been confirmed yet. The Villagers on the panel segment of John King's show are apparently all aflutter over the prospect of William Daley joining the Obama administration because heaven forbid this administration hasn't been friendly enough to big business and Wall Street already.

We can't continue to have our Wall Street masters of the universe continuing to go around with their feelings hurt, now can we?

KING: Let's begin there with that breaking news. I'm told tonight by several top Democratic sources including two current senior Obama administration officials that banking executive William Daley is being considered as a possible chief of staff candidate. Daley is the brother of the Chicago Mayor Richard Daley and was commerce secretary back in the Clinton administration. He also was a top official in the Gore presidential campaign back in 2000.

My sources tell me Daley's name figures prominently as the president and his close advisers debate how to respond to the new environment of divided government here in Washington, and how to put the White House on the best possible footing heading into the president's re-election campaign in 2012. One of these sources said that as of last week, Daley had not, not been offered the job.

Another said whether to make that offer was part of the president's work on his Hawaii vacation. And a third source confirming a Bloomberg news report this afternoon that Daley's name was part of a broader discussion about White House changes for the new year and the new political environment. So why consider Bill Daley and what does it signal about the president's thinking after the midterm election shellacking?

Gloria Borger is here. She's been working her sources this evening too. Also with us, CNN contributors Roland Martin, a veteran himself of Chicago politics, John Avlon and Erick Erickson. Gloria, let me start with you.

Sometimes in what we're told we have to try to crack the reporting code and one of the things that strikes me is officially White House officials are saying no comment. Not go away. No comment.

BORGER: No comment. Can't confirm or deny. And you know this is something our White House correspondent Ed Henry was hearing back in early September. He was getting a whiff of this. He was waved away from it. I was waved away from it. It is very clear that this White House has been doing an internal review led by the current chief of staff, Pete Rouse, about what they need to do heading in to a new Congress with a new political reality and the political reality, as you pointed out, is a divided Congress and Bill Daley is somebody who really knows how to reach out to Republicans.

We saw that when he passed NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement when Bill Clinton was there. And I bet they're going to -- you know that's one reason that he's attractive to them.

KING: Roland martin, you know the Daley family, you know Bill Daley and you know how he is a very tough guy when it comes to negotiations and politics. He's done that in the business community. He's done that in politics. Yet, unlike probably anyone in a senior role in this White House he does have a pretty good relationship with Republicans dating back to the commerce secretary days and he gets along very well with the business community which has complained for months and months and months about this White House.

MARTIN: But beyond his commerce secretary role, he was a hiring executive with Southwestern Bell. And so that is also critical, somebody who's been in the position of working in the private sector, having to deal in terms of with various corporate executives as well. It is different when you're on the political side talking to corporate folks. When you're one of those corporate folks and saying look I understand when it comes to job creation.

I understand what we have to do to get the economy moving, that also is important but also he brings experience I think is also important as a cabinet secretary. One of the criticisms of this administration, how have they not been utilizing the broader cabinet as opposed to officials (INAUDIBLE) the president. He also brings (INAUDIBLE).

KING: Let's be clear. We don't know that this is a done deal. We are getting indications he is being seriously considered, that the president makes the decision on his Hawaii vacation so we'll watch as this comes out. John and Erick I want you to come in the conversation, but first I just want to show our viewers a little bit more about who is Bill Daley if they don't remember from the Clinton administration.

He's 62 years old. He's been executive at JPMorgan Chase Company from 2004 to the present. As Roland noted, president of SBC Communications back in 2001-2004, the chairman of the "Gore for President" campaign and the secretary of commerce back in the late 1990s. John Avlon, one of the criticism perhaps if he does come in is that I can see liberals saying, oh, my god, Wall Street, Wall Street, Wall Street, Wall Street.

AVLON: Oh, yes. And you can already anticipate the criticism on the right, too, which is Chicago, Chicago, Chicago, Chicago. Look, politics is perception. On the plus side of the ledger is everything that's been said -- business experience, Clinton administration experience, and that this is a guy who helped pass NAFTA, got a lot of credibility with the business community. That's huge in terms of addressing an unmet need in the Obama administration but it doubles down -- it doesn't even double down -- it quadruples down on Chicago and that's going to draw a lot of screams of anger, frustration about the insularity of the White House, which has also been under attack today.

KING: And yet Erick Erickson, would you consider it a positive development if the president brought in to the White House a business executive, someone who has worked on major trade deals, the Republicans say that's one of the areas they hope to work with the president in this new environment here in Washington, and someone who has had some -- I'm sure there are some Republicans out there about to e-mail me "hell no" but who has had over the years a pretty good relationship and a relationship level of trust with Republicans.

ERICKSON: Right. You know when the story came out this afternoon I talked to a lot of Republicans, none of them had anything critical to say of Bill Daley. They all kind of have the slap on the forehead, said this would be a great pick.


ERICKSON: It keeps the president in his comfort zone -- yes -- I mean it keeps the president in his comfort zone of having someone from Chicago which to the people I've been talking to says you know this is a president who has trouble reaching out to Republicans so he's got the Bill Daley comfort zone there and Bill Daley, the Republicans like him so he can reach out. It is a good pick.


ERICKSON: And frankly, I would say real quick, Gloria that some of the Republicans I've said -- talked to said this is a little bit troubling in that the president really does want to win re-election.

BORGER: But financial reform is clearly a key issue here because JPMorgan was not lobbying in favor of financial reform shall we say.

KING: Bill Daley is on the record against a very significant initiative from this administration --


MARTIN: Also this whole notion of how will the left respond. He is not coming from a conservative political family. I mean this is somebody who his brother is -- was a huge gun rights advocate, so it's not like he's not -- the Daley family is not beloved by the left.

KING: They're not -- let's look a little bit at the current lineup at the White House in the sense that Pete Rouse is the current chief of staff. He was the deputy chief of staff and he took this job when Rahm Emanuel went back to Chicago. Pete Rouse became the chief of staff and I'm told he is among those saying maybe I shouldn't keep this job. Maybe you need somebody more high profile. Robert Gibbs is the press secretary but there is lot of talk that Robert will slide over into David Axelrod's job as a senior adviser. David is right now the president's top political adviser, but he's leaving. He's going back to Chicago to set up shop for the reelection campaign and so one of the theories to bring in Bill Daley is that you would have an experienced grown-up to be in the White House, a chief executive, a CEO, a guy who's been in this business before and has deep experience. When the president is out running around the country --


KING: -- one thing is you want someone you trust minding the store.

MARTIN: This is different than the Clinton administration when he had lots of young folks who didn't quite understand Washington, D.C. This is somebody who has significant experience and again I think when you put all of the pieces together this is different than Leon Panetta coming in when Bill Clinton was in the White House.

KING: Does it tell us that initially after the election a lot of people said no, no, Pete's staying, Pete's staying, Pete's staying meaning Pete Rouse. Does it tell us that they've had a moment of reflection to make them think, this is a new environment. Both Republican control of the House and the idea that he's going to have to start gearing up for re-election.

BORGER: Yes and that maybe you know Pete Rouse is the ultimate inside man. He's the insider's insider who makes everything work at the White House. And what it tells you is that they're thinking that they need an outside man as they head into the 2012 election replacing, by the way, Rahm Emanuel who was both an insider and knew how to play the outside game and go on television, for example. Bill Daley knows how to do this job.

MARTIN: It's kind of weird calling any of these folks outsiders.


KING: He would be a new insider.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right, right, right --


ERICKSON: Republicans are concerned that there are still a lot of Republicans out there who feel like the White House hasn't been doing as much outreach as they had anticipated. Bill Daley is a guy that's in everybody's comfort zone.

AVLON: Look the lame duck, the story of the lame duck was outreach. And Erick to your earlier point, if Republicans are saying that this is, "A", a good pick, "B", it shows how serious the president is not only about recognizing the results of the last election but primping towards re-elect, that means it is a very strong pick.

KING: All right, guys, I want y'all to stand by. We'll come back with our group in a little bit.

But more breaking news just ahead, new details first reported right here on CNN on how and when Republicans will try to repeal the Obama health care law.


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