Obama's staff to change. It has been unapproachable, set in its ways, & came in with more goodwill than seen in decades & squandered it
In his nearly two years in office, President Obama has relied on a very small clique of advisers that serves as his most trusted sounding board on politics and policy.
Members of his staff describe Obama as wary of outsiders and reluctant to widen his inner circle. As one of his advisers bluntly put it, the president "doesn't like new people."
Like it or not, he will soon be surrounded by them as an expected staff shuffle will deprive Obama of two of his closest aides and an influx of replacements will take their places within the West Wing.
The inner circle - Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, senior advisers David Axelrod and Valerie Jarrett, press secretary Robert Gibbs and Vice President Biden - is breaking up, or at least breaking open. Emanuel is widely expected to run for mayor of Chicago, and Axelrod is likely to leave this spring to prepare for Obama's 2012 reelection effort.
Obama will soon lose other top advisers. His chief economic adviser, Lawrence H. Summers, announced that he will return to Harvard, where he is a professor; Deputy Chief of Staff Jim Messina is expected to join Axelrod in Chicago; and national security adviser James L. Jones is said to want out by the end of the year.
"They miscalculated where people were out in the country on jobs, on spending, on the deficit, on debt," said a longtime Democratic strategist who works with the White House on a variety of issues. "They have not been able to get ahead of any of it. And it's all about the insularity. Otherwise how do you explain how a group who came in with more goodwill in decades squandered it?"
This is not an uncommon view among Democratic political professionals, many of whom share the goals of the White House but have grown frustrated with a staff they see as unapproachable and set in their ways.