Editor's note: Before joining CNN, Senior Political Editor Mark Preston spent six years as a staff writer for the Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call, writing stories on powerful lawmakers and key staffers such as Pete Rouse. Rouse, whom President Obama named his interim chief of staff Friday, is low-key but very well respected for his knowledge of the legislative process and straightforward approach when working with Republicans. This story, which appeared in Roll Call in 2004, is from one of the few interviews Rouse has given on the record. Although this article was written six years ago, it still provides readers with an inside look into one of the most powerful people in government.
Pete Rouse is no stranger to tough battles as Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle's (D-S.D.) top aide. He was part of the team that catapulted Daschle into his leadership post in 1994 and four years later helped negotiate the terms of former President Bill Clinton's impeachment trial.
In recent years, he has had to navigate a flip-flopping Senate majority, the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and an envelope full of anthrax opened in Daschle's office that exposed more than a dozen staffers to the potentially deadly spores.