Although McDonough's portfolio has been national security, he is involved in daily senior staff meetings at the White House that often focus on domestic issues. Last year, when the White House was embroiled in an internal debate over a mandate requiring religious organizations to offer contraception coverage, McDonough, a Catholic and one of 11 children, was among a handful of aides who raised concerns.
Obama is expected to surround McDonough with aides who have broader experience on domestic issues and congressional negotiations — most notably Rob Nabors, Obama's legislative director and chief negotiator with Capitol Hill, who the president tapped Friday to become his new deputy chief of staff for policy.
"He does not have the kind of background that Jack Lew had in budget matters, so he'll have to bring on board some very knowledgeable people," said Hamilton. "He probably already has."
AP White House Correspondent Julie Pace contributed to this report.
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