Longtime Obama aide leaving White House

Pete Rouse, a longtime aide to President Obama, who has served as the president’s counselor and interim chief of staff, is departing the West Wing.

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Rouse has long telegraphed his desire to leave the administration, repeatedly announcing planned exits — and then finding reasons to stay on.

But it appears that he’ll be able to escape this time, after five years as one of the president’s most trusted advisers.

“It will be a tough loss,” Obama told The New York Times on Wednesday.

Rouse was Obama’s first chief of staff in the U.S. Senate, and worked behind the scenes to staff and organize the president’s political team.

The recent hires of former Clinton chief of staff John Podesta and former Obama congressional liaison Phil Schiliro — who, like Rouse, formerly worked in the office of former Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) — are expected to ease the transition.

But the president hinted that even if he no longer worked down the hall, he would continue to lean on Rouse for the remainder of his second term.

“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,” Obama said.

Obama said that he trusted Rouse “completely.”

“He is a model of discretion and he has no ego, and he’s as wise as they come. So I think it’s fair to say that for the remainder of my term in office he will continue to be somebody who I talk to a lot and rely on heavily.”

Rouse’s exit is likely to foreshadow exits from other longtime Obama officials.

“The end of the year is a traditional time for people to make some decisions about their own personal lives and to make decisions to leave the administration and pursue other opportunities,” said White House spokesman Josh Earnest. “That also means that people from the outside are brought into the White House during that period. And I would anticipate that something like that is probably going to happen again around the end of this year and the beginning of next.”

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