Washington (CNN) – In the "will he stay or will he go?" saga, a Senior Obama Administration official confirms to CNN that, this time it seems, Pete Rouse really is leaving the administration.
When asked if this time Rouse was really leaving, a Senior Administration Official said coyly, "He's said many times that he is leaving. This time, people seem to believe him."
Rouse has been one of President Barack Obama's closest and longest serving aides, in the key advisory role of Counselor to the President. When Obama entered the U.S. Senate in January 2005, Rouse served as his Chief of Staff. When Obama was elected President in 2008, Rouse followed him to the White House, serving as key member of Obama's his inner circle.
Rouse served as interim Chief of Staff for the President for months after Obama's first Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel, departed the White House in October 2010, until his successor, William Daley, was installed.
Reports of his imminent departure have been floating around since August, when CNN reported that he was telling friends that he would leave by the fall.
Rouse's departure comes as the President brings in political heavyweights John Podesta and Phil Schiliro.
Podesta led Obama's transition team following the 2008 election, and will serve as Counselor to the President, though White House officials say he is not replacing Rouse. He worked as President Bill Clinton's Chief of Staff – shepherding that administration through rough times like the Monica Lewinksy scandal, the President's impeachment and the war in Kosovo.
Schiliro was Obama's top liaison to Congress during the passage of the Affordable Care Act, and is returning to help right the troubled program, at a time when the President needs support from Democrats on Capitol Hill.
The staff changes follow a rough year for the administration, including failed gun legislation, stalled immigration reform, the government shutdown, the botched HealthCare.gov website rollout and record low approval ratings for the President.
When speaking about Rouse, the President himself acknowledged the difficulties of losing a trusted adviser in an interview granted to the New York Times.
"It will be a tough loss … But it may be a situation where he feels more comfortable with some discreet assignments here and there, and certainly I will continue to rely on him for the good counsel and advice that I really can't get from any other people in this town."
Rouse had spent years on Capitol Hill before joining then freshman Sen. Obama's staff in 2005. During his years as Chief of Staff to Senate Democratic leader Tom Daschle, became known as the "101st senator."