Obama Names Denis McDonough as Chief of Staff

Deputy national security adviser is the latest in a string of white males to be promoted.

By SHARE

Update, Jan. 25: As expected, President Barack Obama Friday named Denis McDonough, formerly a top national security adviser for Obama, as his new chief-of-staff.

The president said since his early political career he has relied on McDonough's "intellect and good judgment."

"He's been one of my closest and most trusted advisers," Obama said during the Friday announcement. "The truth is, no one outworks Denis McDonough. In addition to being an incredible talent and a hard worker, Denis is also a pretty humble guy. To so many of his friends and admirers, he's still just the dude from Stillwater, Minn."

McDonough won the job because of his intellect, experience, dedication and determination, Obama said.

Original post:

Deputy National Security Adviser Denis McDonough speaks at an interfaith forum at the All Dulles Area Muslim Society in Sterling, Va., Sunday, March 6, 2011.
Deputy National Security Adviser Denis McDonough speaks at an interfaith forum at the All Dulles Area Muslim Society in Sterling, Va., Sunday, March 6, 2011.

Another day, another white man apparently heading for a promotion in President Obama's inner circle.

This time it's Denis McDonough, the current deputy national security adviser who is expected to be chosen by Obama as the new White House chief of staff.

The move is likely to renew concerns about a lack of diversity at the top levels of the administration. Earlier, Obama drew criticism from feminists and liberals when he named four other white men to senior jobs: Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts as secretary of state, former Sen. Chuck Hagel as secretary of defense, counterterrorism adviser John Brennan as director of central intelligence, and current White House Chief of Staff Jack Lew as secretary of the treasury.

[READ: Obama Criticized for Lack of Diversity in Cabinet Appointments]

The Kerry nomination was particularly troubling to diversity advocates because, if confirmed as expected by the Senate, he would replace Hillary Clinton, one of the most popular and influential women ever to serve in government.

Obama has said that criticizing him for lack of diversity is premature because he has not finished picking his senior advisers for a second term. He also noted that he has already named a number of women to his administration, including Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. His two choices for the Supreme Court have been women, and one of his closest White House confidantes is senior adviser Valerie Jarrett.

In picking McDonough, one of his favorite staffers, Obama would show a preference for people he has worked with closely and with whom he has a strong comfort level. The other main contender for the job, Ron Klain, was not as close to the president. Klain had been chief of staff to Vice President Joe Biden. Earlier in his career, Klain had been chief of staff to Vice President Al Gore.

[PHOTOS: Obama Behind the Scenes]

Obama's apparent decision to promote McDonough also may signal a second-term desire by the president to emphasize foreign policy, which is McDonough's strength.

Rebekah Metzler contributed to this report.

Ken Walsh covers the White House and politics for U.S. News. He writes the daily blog "Ken Walsh's Washington," for usnews.com and is the author of "The Presidency" column for the U.S. News Weekly. He can be reached at kwalsh@usnews.com and followed on Facebook and Twitter.