Biden picks centrist as new top aide
January 14th, 2011
11:06 AM ET
4 years ago

Biden picks centrist as new top aide

(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.

Full Statement:

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.


Filed under: Joe Biden
soundoff (7 Responses)
  1. LIP

    How about making his first job, investigating the rising price of gasoline and all products made using petroleum, which is virtually everything the consumer uses. A ban on drilling in the gulf is crippling our economy and making us slaves to the Arab oil. Does anyone recall several years back when gas prices went through the roof and how it affected every segment of our economy and drove prices up and here we go again.
    Let's open up drilling in the gulf and anywhere else it is needed, to regain a sense of direction. Write your congressman/woman and demand Obama stop this foolishness.

    January 14, 2011 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  2. Sherri W.W.#1~ILLinois

    I see absolutely no reason why this should "give liberals heartburn".Thats nonsense.I am a liberal,and one of President Obamas`most outspoken supporters~and I believe he HAS to move a "little"toward the middle .Dont we all wish the GOP would ALSO move toward the middle? That would be a vast improvement in their current thinking ,and positions,and posturing for sure! I want both sides to work together very much,BUT I do NOT want the Dems to "give away the store"either! The truth is,the Republicans are not working on anything of REAL value to the country.Trying to repeal healthcare that all need,and which is already benefitting so many,is complete and foolish nonsense~and they KNOW IT. thats the worst part.They said they wd work on "jobs"to get in office.They havent and are not.However,the newly elected GOP members have certinly taken many expensive "retreats"~with their families,and had many expensive parties so far,in less than a month! Lets get to work folks~and not on repealing good things~on putting this country back to work,and on giving states the help they need,to keep all things going~including Law Enforcement! MOVE ON GOP~ADDing THAT ALL DEMS NEED TO BACK DEMS~or LEAVE~we need no "half~Dems"NOW!

    January 14, 2011 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  3. STEVE RAYMOND

    WOW, it looks like the grand plan was all just a farse, too bad teh damage has been done....................sad part is that all the sheep were tricked back in the 2008 election

    i think all this "move to the center" is a play on trying to stay in power, and pretty much an admission of failure over the past two years..............how much longer can they blame bush if they "move to the center"?
    Obama administration is week and will blame bush until their last breath

    January 14, 2011 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  4. Marko

    ......and so begins the dumbing down of a Democratic administration.

    January 14, 2011 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  5. Rick McDaniel

    There is no such thing as a centrist among the Dems, nor among the GOP. That is why we have the problems we have, in Washington, and why they will continue.

    January 14, 2011 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  6. Phil in KC

    Did Biden pick his new Chief of Staff or did the President's men pick him for the VP? I can see Obama moving to the center, but I don't think Biden needs to. In fact, I think he serves a purpose by maintaining his viewpoints and espousing them.

    January 14, 2011 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  7. GOP Taliban Victim

    Please don't turn Obama into Clinton. We wanted a reformer in chief, not a conformer in chief. There was a reason why Billary lost to Obama in the primary.

    January 14, 2011 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |