Senate Democrats have nothing but praise for President Barack Obama’s choice of William Daley as his new chief of staff, despite liberal groups blasting the president’s pick as beholden to corporate interests.
“I’m very satisfied,” said Sen. Sherrod Brown, a leading Senate liberal. As for the outrage from progressive groups, the Ohio Democrat shrugged and said, “It’s the president’s call.”
Sen. Frank Lautenberg, also a prominent liberal, said Daley is a good choice because the business community is looking “to see that we are pro-business.” In addition, the New Jersey Democrat said, Daley will be a boon to White House-Senate relations.
“He has a demonstrated ability to build consensus,” Lautenberg said. “He has a persuasive manner, to put it mildly. That can help the president as well as the House and the Senate ... despite the change in ratios” with the increase in GOP seats.
Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) added that he is pleased with Obama’s choice because Daley “brings competence and understanding of the role of Congress.”
Leading liberal groups including MoveOn.org and the Progressive Change Campaign Committee are fuming over the naming of Daley because of his deep ties to the business community. Among other things, Daley opposed the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a major priority of liberals.
MoveOn.org Executive Director Justin Ruben said having Daley in the White House “is troubling and sends the wrong message” as average Americans struggle to find jobs.
But Democratic Senators say Daley is just what Obama needs in the aftermath of the November elections that dealt a blow to Democrats.
“He’s the perfect chief of staff-type person,” Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said. “He’s no-nonsense, he’s well-organized, he’s smart. He’s great.”
Moderate Democrats touted their strong relationships to Daley.
“I consider him a personal friend,” Budget Chairman Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) said. “He’s well-known here. Highly regarded. He has lots of relationships with Members.”
Having Daley in the White House will “absolutely” lead to better White House-Senate relations, Finance Chairman Max Baucus added.
“He is an excellent choice,” the Montana Democrat said.
Emily Pierce contributed to this report.