(CNN) – Washington (CNN) - In the latest sign that President Obama's administration is taking on a more centrist and Clintonian bent, Vice President Biden announced Friday that Bruce Reed will be his new chief of staff.
Reed will succeed Ron Klain as the Vice President's chief of staff, a move that will instantly give liberals more heartburn that the White House is moving sharply to the middle to deal with the new closely-divided Congress, especially in the wake of other top Clinton officials being tapped for key posts, including Bill Daley as White House Chief of Staff and Gene Sperling as chair of the National Economic Council.
Reed served as the chief domestic policy adviser in the Clinton White House and most recently as CEO of the Democratic Leadership Council, the national organization that launched the New Democratic movement that fueled Bill Clinton's rise to power in the 1990's.
Also significant is that Reed just finished a tour of duty as the executive director of the President's National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, the panel chaired by Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson that was delving into ways to slash the soaring federal budget deficit. So Reed's hiring as Biden's top aide is a sure sign that the White House wants to at least send the signal that they're trying to get serious about working with Republicans on bringing down the debt.
"I've known and admired Bruce for over 20 years," said Vice President Biden. "We worked closely together to pass the crime bill in the 1990s and I've frequently sought his advice and counsel in the years since. He brings a unique blend of experience and perspective to this position and his leadership will be a tremendous asset to my office, and to the entire White House."
Reed said in the same prepared statement: "I'm very excited to join Vice President Biden's team, and to work with the fine staff he has assembled. I'm thrilled that he asked me to take on this role, and I look forward to helping him advance the important agenda of the Obama-Biden administration."
The Vice President also announced that Mike Donilon, brother of National Security Adviser Tom Donilon, is returning to Biden's office as counselor.
Vice President Biden Announces Bruce Reed as New Chief of Staff
Michael Donilon Also Returns as Counselor to the Vice President
Washington, DC – Vice President Joe Biden announced today that Bruce Reed will succeed Ron Klain in the role of Chief of Staff for the Office of the Vice President. Mr. Reed has most recently worked for the Administration as Executive Director of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, also known as the Bowles-Simpson Commission. In addition, the Vice President announced that one of his closest advisors, Michael C. Donilon, will be returning to his previous position as Counselor to the Vice President.
“I’ve known and admired Bruce for over 20 years,” said Vice President Biden. “We worked closely together to pass the crime bill in the 1990s and I’ve frequently sought his advice and counsel in the years since. He brings a unique blend of experience and perspective to this position and his leadership will be a tremendous asset to my office, and to the entire White House. I’m also very pleased that my friend and closest advisor, Mike Donilon, will be returning to the White House in his role as Counselor. His wit, humor and guidance have been missed and we are all very happy to have him back.”
“I’m very excited to join Vice President Biden’s team, and to work with the fine staff he has assembled. I’m thrilled that he asked me to take on this role, and I look forward to helping him advance the important agenda of the Obama-Biden administration,” said Reed.
Bruce Reed’s previous work in the White House came during the Clinton-Gore administration, where he spent four years as the Chief Domestic Policy Advisor to the President, after two years as Deputy Domestic Policy Advisor and two years as Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy Planning. During this period, he helped President Clinton win passage of landmark welfare reform, the Clinton education agenda, and much more. On behalf of the Clinton-Gore Administration, Reed worked closely with then-Senator Biden to help craft and win passage of the 1994 Biden Crime Bill, which included then-Senator Biden’s Violence Against Women Act and his initiative to put 100,000 cops on the streets.
Prior to the Clinton-Gore administration, Reed was deputy campaign manager for policy for the Clinton-Gore campaign and previously served on the staff of then-Senator Al Gore from 1985-1989. From 1990-1991, he served as policy director for the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC). Reed returned to the DLC in January 2001, where he served as Chief Executive Officer until his appointment nine months ago as the Executive Director of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform. A native of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, Reed is a graduate of Princeton University and was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University.
Reed’s formal title will be Assistant to the President and Chief of Staff to the Vice President.