Ex-advisers like Plouffe, Gibbs and David Axelrod routinely participate in calls with current White House staffers, and Obama has invited the first-term all-stars to strategy sessions on other issues too, former aides said.

One former aide described Obama’s trusted inner circle from the first term as “the originals,” and speculated that if they were still at the White House they could have helped prevent some of Obama’s second-term blunders, such as the decision Monday to give a fiery speech criticizing Republicans just hours after 12 people were gunned down a few miles away at the Navy Yard.

“I don’t think he would have made that kind of mistake in the first term,” one former administration official said on Tuesday. “Sometimes it feels like there’s a void over there. There are some new, extraordinary folks over there, but it definitely leaves something to be desired.”