CNN: Obama to pick Denis McDonough for chief of staff

posted at 11:11 am on January 17, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

Barack Obama will announce Denis McDonough for his choice of chief of staff, CNN reports, with an announcement expected soon.  McDonough replaces Jack Lew, who went to Treasury in the second-term shake-up.  That may produce another uncomfortable round of diversity scolding for the President:

President Barack Obama is expected to name Deputy National Security Adviser Denis McDonough as the next White House chief of staff, several sources familiar with the matter told CNN.

McDonough would replace Jack Lew, who has been nominated for secretary of the Treasury Department. …

The decision comes as Obama faces criticism for a lack of diversity among his top-level Cabinet picks for his second term. His nominees for secretary of state, secretary of defense, treasury secretary and CIA director have all been male.

Earlier this week, Obama advised his critics to wait until he had made all of his appointments to his next administration.  So far, though, there doesn’t seem to be much difference in trajectory.

The chief of staff appointment doesn’t require Senate confirmation, nor should it.  That’s a good thing in this instance, though, considering McDonough’s potential involvement in the Benghazi debacle:

McDonough has carved out a reputation as a fiercely loyal and demanding aide who has played a key role in some of the administration’s highest profile decisions, including the U.S. military drawdowns in Iraq and Afghanistan, the response to the Japanese tsunami and the handling of the attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya.

Promoting anyone involved in the Benghazi debacle should raise eyebrows on Capitol Hill, especially with the Congressional investigations still in full swing.  The Washington Post also notes that McDonough, a devout Catholic, advised Obama on the HHS contraception mandate that created a firestorm of controversy and prompted the Catholic Church to take HHS to court in a fight over religious liberty:

His influence extends beyond national security. McDonough is a devout Catholic, and he has served as something of an informal adviser on religious matters, such as during last year’s debate over the White House’s handling of contraception rules under the new health-care law.

That sounds like McDonough either offered some bad advice, or that Obama wasn’t listening to McDonough’s input.  The appointment makes the former more likely than the latter, which again makes this decision a little puzzling, but not terribly surprising.


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Binders full of middle-aged white dudes.

steebo77 on January 17, 2013 at 11:14 AM

The Peter Principle is alive and well in the ObamiNation.

Steve Eggleston on January 17, 2013 at 11:14 AM

No clean hands I guess. I would choose Hugh Jackman. He got things done in les mis.

Steven McGregor on January 17, 2013 at 11:16 AM

Pick him out of the lineup?

Most of those serving in the Obama administration belong in a lineup.

HumpBot Salvation on January 17, 2013 at 11:17 AM

Steven McGregor on January 17, 2013 at 11:16 AM

Left you a message here.

Bmore on January 17, 2013 at 11:20 AM

“Girls have cooties.” – King B. Hussein’O

Pork-Chop on January 17, 2013 at 11:21 AM

Bmore on January 17, 2013 at 11:20 AM

Thanks! would be even better if it was named ‘DoNotTrackMeBro’

Steven McGregor on January 17, 2013 at 11:26 AM

…I think he should pick Madonna!
…or at least Joy Behar or Barbara Striesand!

KOOLAID2 on January 17, 2013 at 11:28 AM

The Washington Post also notes that McDonough, a devout Catholic, advised Obama on the HHS contraception mandate

“devout” Catholic me arse. He’s probably about as “devout” as is Nancy Pelosi. Then, consider the source….the Washington Compost

olesparkie on January 17, 2013 at 11:29 AM

Racist mofo.

Mr. Arrogant on January 17, 2013 at 11:30 AM

Bark = Racist.

Bishop on January 17, 2013 at 11:30 AM

His influence extends beyond national security. McDonough is a devout Catholic, and he has served as something of an informal adviser on religious matters, such as during last year’s debate over the White House’s handling of contraception rules under the new health-care law.

What is a devout Catholic? If he is someone who goes to church every Sunday then it does not make him a true Christian… There are millions of these types who go to church every Sunday but at the same time they believe in abortion, gay marriage, legalizing drugs and a host of other social issues that go against the heart of Christian values and teaching… Hypocrites, Pharisees, and all… The thing with this type of Church goes is that they believe that they are such “Good Christians” because they are advocating for the STATE to take more of other people money to help the poor…

mnjg on January 17, 2013 at 11:30 AM

Steven McGregor on January 17, 2013 at 11:26 AM

; )

Bmore on January 17, 2013 at 11:30 AM

You have to assume everyone he picks is crooked and has a lot of dirt. That’s how he controls them and keeps them from squealing on him.

The Rogue Tomato on January 17, 2013 at 11:30 AM

McDonough is a devout Catholic

Really? Who says, McDonough?

Dusty on January 17, 2013 at 11:32 AM

His influence extends beyond national security. McDonough is a devout Catholic,

Can’t be Catholic and support abortion at the same time.

And yet, here he is, COS to the most prolific aborter the world has ever known. This story informs me of this, and this only: the new WH CoS is a liar and hypocrite. But what should we have expected, eh?

Square that for me.

BobMbx on January 17, 2013 at 11:33 AM

McDonough is a devout Catholic

Nope. He can’t be a “devout Catholic” and work for the American Fascist Monarch.
~(Ä)~

Karl Magnus on January 17, 2013 at 11:34 AM

The Peter Principle is alive and well in the ObamiNation.

Steve Eggleston on January 17, 2013 at 11:14 AM

The Peter Principle is a belief that, in an organization where promotion is based on achievement, success, and merit, that organization’s members will eventually be promoted beyond their level of ability…

When it comes to Obama and his fools they have violated the Peter Principle long before their current positions… In fact for Obama he achieved the Peter Principle when he was a welfare queens agitator in Chicago, he reached the level of incompetence back then…

mnjg on January 17, 2013 at 11:35 AM

Yet another beta male to satisfy Valerie’s need to be top dog.

nobar on January 17, 2013 at 11:36 AM

That sounds like McDonough either offered some bad advice, or that Obama wasn’t listening to McDonough’s input. The appointment makes the former more likely than the latter, which again makes this decision a little puzzling, but not terribly surprising.

How so? If Obama had realized that McDonough was right all along after initially ignoring his advice, maybe this is just his way of trying to fix the s***storm that was created.

blammm on January 17, 2013 at 11:37 AM

B-b-b-but…War on Wimminses!

Way to go ladies, hope he left enough on the nightstand for ya.

ICanSeeNovFromMyHouse on January 17, 2013 at 11:38 AM

Can’t be Catholic and support abortion at the same time.

[BobMbx on January 17, 2013 at 11:33 AM]

Can’t a Catholic and support Socialism at the same time, either. Socialism is as much an anathema to the Church as abortion is. And a devout Catholic would know when a Socialist is merely using God as cover for advancing his Socialist principles.

Dusty on January 17, 2013 at 11:41 AM

The Peter Principle is alive and well in the ObamiNation.

Steve Eggleston on January 17, 2013 at 11:14 AM

It’s alive and well for the entire black community, which suffers the most from the Obamanation by far.

I have no other explanation that don’t sound hideously racist for an entire group that willingly votes for ‘free stuff’ over jobs and real safety and freedom, time after time.

MelonCollie on January 17, 2013 at 11:41 AM

Yet another beta male to satisfy Valerie’s need to be top dog.

nobar on January 17, 2013 at 11:36 AM

Well Said.
Heaven forbid that Emperor Øligula be upstaged by a real man.
Gal Pal Val Jarrett has more ‘nads.
~(Ä)~

Karl Magnus on January 17, 2013 at 11:45 AM

How so? If Obama had realized that McDonough was right all along after initially ignoring his advice, maybe this is just his way of trying to fix the s***storm that was created.

[blammm on January 17, 2013 at 11:37 AM]

If Obama realized that McDonough was right all along, why doesn’t he reverse his policy, because that would be the position of a “devout Catholic”.

If Obama realized McDonough was right and decided to promote him, but not reverse his policy, why would a “devout Catholic” stay on in the Administration?

Dusty on January 17, 2013 at 11:48 AM

You have to assume everyone he picks is crooked and has a lot of dirt. That’s how he controls them and keeps them from squealing on him.

The Rogue Tomato on January 17, 2013 at 11:30 AM

Maybe McDonough is the guy whose function is to keep tabs on the others & their crimes. Like a modern J. Edgar Hoover … or the diminutive Asian photographer Billy Kwan, in the 1982 film The Year of Living Dangerously.

RedPepper on January 17, 2013 at 11:50 AM

How do these career washington insiders get into these roles! I mean really!

This guy graduated from college in 1992. Then, with his truty History and Spanish degree in hand, he tots off to Latin America to “travel extensively” and teach “high school in Belize.” Boy, that must have been rough for the 2 years he was there! I bet he was drunk most the time.

Then he returns and decides that he wants to go the Foreign Service route, and for the next two years he is in school yet again getting his Masters of Science in Foreign Service (MSFS).

After that, he is in perpetual washington mode, hoping from one congressional meal-ticket to the next, with absolutely no REAL experience in anything related to anything foreign….except maybe what the Belize women look like on the beach.

House International Relations Committee, senior foreign policy advisor to Senator Tom Daschle, legislative director Senator Ken Salazar, senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, Senator Barack Obama’s chief foreign policy advisor, and finally, Deputy National Security Advisor, soon to become Chief of Staff.

No wonder Obama’s inner circle seems like they have no idea what the F@ck they are doing…THEY DON’T!

Patriot Vet on January 17, 2013 at 11:50 AM

CNN: Obama to pick Denis McDonough for chief of staff

Geez, and here I was figuring it would be Mike Hunt.

ToddPA on January 17, 2013 at 11:58 AM

Is there a such thing as an American devout Catholic anymore?

Bmore on January 17, 2013 at 11:59 AM

So he moves his current Chief of Staff to Treasury and moves his Deputy NSA to chief of Staff. Sounds like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic to me.

Bitter Clinger on January 17, 2013 at 12:21 PM

Devout Catholic?

Like Coumo, Kennedy, Kerry, Biden, Pelosi…

I haven’t been inside a Roman Catholic Church in twenty years but I’m a better Cathoic than anyone of those lowlifes.

The reason I no longer go to church? They refuse to excommunicate their heretics.

“Render unto Ceasar, the things that art Ceasar’s and to God, the things that are God’s”.

patch on January 17, 2013 at 12:50 PM

It’s alive and well for the entire black community, which suffers the most from the Obamanation by far.

I have no other explanation that don’t sound hideously racist for an entire group that willingly votes for ‘free stuff’ over jobs and real safety and freedom, time after time.

MelonCollie on January 17, 2013 at 11:41 AM

Well I can understand the black vote. What’s the white vote’s excuse?

Vince on January 17, 2013 at 1:39 PM

Define “devout” Catholic? If he, in any way, was giving Obama advice on the contraception mandate, I’m scared.

bflat879 on January 17, 2013 at 1:41 PM

Another cracker eh. Van Jones wasn’t available?

Hummer53 on January 17, 2013 at 2:29 PM

Well I can understand the black vote. What’s the white vote’s excuse?

Vince on January 17, 2013 at 1:39 PM

Misplaced guilt.

Mitoch55 on January 17, 2013 at 2:37 PM

What does ‘devout’ Catholic mean? It is an oxymoron, isn’t it?

steveracer on January 18, 2013 at 6:24 AM

“Obama to pick Denis…” That isn’t how I read the headline on the first scan…I may suffer from some sort of mild lysdexia :)

Sinatra_98 on January 18, 2013 at 9:48 AM