With President Barack Obama expected to announce Jack Lew, currently his chief of staff, as Treasury Secretary on Thursday, speculation about who will be Lew's replacement is Washington's new favorite parlor game.
The position is considered one of the most powerful in the country. The president's chief of staff not only literally manages his White House staff, but is one of the top personal advisers to the president and often charged with leading policy negotiations with Congress. During Obama's first term, then chiefofstaff Rahm Emanuel helped shepherd large pieces of legislation, such as the stimulus package and health care law, through the Democrat-controlled Congress.
Several news organizations have reported, citing anonymous sources, Denis McDonough, a deputy national security adviser, and Ron Klain, a former chief of staff for both Vice President Joe Biden and Al Gore, when he was vice president, as the top two candidates.
Another name being floated in political circles is Tom Daschle, a former Senate Majority Leader from South Dakota. Daschle, an early Obama supporter during the 2008 Democratic primary, served as a campaign advisor and was nominated as Obama's Health and Human Services Secretary after his first presidential election. He withdrew his name after news reports revealed he had more than $100,000 in unpaid taxes.
Klain may be the most natural fit for the job, given his deep White House experience and years spent as an aide on Capitol Hill. McDonough's experience lies more in the area of foreign policy. Both Klain and McDonough have ties to Daschle as well – Klain was tapped by Daschle to work for the Senate Democratic Leadership Committee and McDonough was at one time a foreign policy adviser to Daschle.