Aide: Daley frustrated some Senate Democrats
January 9th, 2012
06:30 PM ET
11 years ago

Aide: Daley frustrated some Senate Democrats

(CNN) - Some Senate Democrats were concerned and frustrated last year about outgoing White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley's handling of the high-stakes negotiations with Republicans over government funding, the debt ceiling and job creation, according to a senior Democratic aide on Capitol Hill.

Relations got so bad that after the White House got into a scheduling dispute with House Republicans over the president's jobs speech to a joint session of Congress in September, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, complained directly to President Barack Obama about Daley's performance.

Democrats also were stunned this summer when they learned through news reports that the president nearly cut a secret "grand bargain" with House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, to slash the deficit by trillions of dollars, the aide said.

Democratic lawmakers feared that Daley, in an effort to build a re-election strategy for Obama, was blaming publicly both Democrats and Republicans - instead of just Republicans - for the dysfunction on Capitol Hill that threatened to close the government and cause a default on the government's debts.

Obama announced Monday that Daley is stepping down and will be replaced by Office of Management and Budget Director Jack Lew.

As an example of their frustration, Democrats point to an October quote in a Politico column in which Daley said, "on the domestic side, both Democrats and Republicans have really made it very difficult for the president to be anything like a chief executive."

That "fear that he was plotting against us" was "compounded by the way he conducted business with Congress," the top Democratic aide said.

The president's right-hand man was not good about reaching out and communicating with Democrats on the Hill, especially about what the White House was doing and why, the aide said. In addition, he didn't take the time to listen to lawmakers' ideas and concerns, which the aide said can be critically important to winning lawmakers' support even if their ideas are not included in a final deal.

The aide noted the White House is now doing a better job of directing its criticism at just Republicans.

A senior House Democratic aide said there were concerns about Daley in that chamber, but they were not as prevalent. For instance, House Democrats were angered that in the president's September jobs speech he mentioned the need for "Congress" to pass his bill more times than the need for "Republicans" to pass it.

To his credit though, Daley has taken tough questions from Democratic lawmakers in closed caucus sessions over the government funding and debt ceiling bills and earned standing ovations by the ends of those meetings for his answers, the aide said.

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soundoff (8 Responses)
  1. vic , nashville ,tn

    I am happy he is gone

    January 9, 2012 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  2. Evelyn Connaway

    How sad that there is no real loyalty to the President by some of his staff, many have an ego problem and want to run the whole show. Of course he needs help, he said that from the beginning, but both sides of the house have dumped on him to many times. He will survive and he has my vote.

    January 9, 2012 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  3. CBR

    Mr. Daley was probably frustrated by the lack of movement in the Congress. He came to Washington to help the President and was very blunt. Most in Congress do not appreciate someone who tells it like it is. His style was not appreciated in Washington. Too bad because Congress needs someone to be blunt.

    January 9, 2012 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  4. Pedron

    Thanks for your service Sir!! you are one true patriot!!

    January 9, 2012 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  5. Aaron

    One thing about Obama, he'll stab his supporters in the back if he thinks it will get up in the polls. He turned on Pelosi like a pit bull when the Repubs made her the poster girl for her hate since she beat them at their game.

    January 9, 2012 11:19 pm at 11:19 pm |
  6. bullock w

    I am belived that daley was not his fault his job cause presdient obama was nothing his work job for 4 year cause obama like more blame other democrat and repbluic
    He need get out of his presdient obama 2012 that is alright

    January 10, 2012 05:58 am at 5:58 am |
  7. Anonymous

    Considering what a fascist his father was, I'm not sorry to see him leave. The nut probably didn't fall far from the tree here.

    January 10, 2012 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
  8. Fair is Fair

    "Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, complained directly to President Barack Obama about Daley's performance."
    I always thought Obama was getting his marching orders from Harry & Nancy.

    January 10, 2012 08:48 am at 8:48 am |