Obama names top aide Tanzania ambassador

President Obama on Monday nominated Mark Childress, a top West Wing adviser and his deputy chief of staff for planning, as the next ambassador to Tanzania, the White House said Monday.

Childress, who worked previously for former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.), led the White House's early messaging operation ahead of the Internal Revenue Service's inspector general report, released earlier this year, that detailed the targeting of conservative groups. He's also been a key player in the White House's rollout of the president's signature health care law, credited with crafting the religious exemption to a regulation requiring employers to provide coverage with free access to contraception.

According to a profile in BuzzFeed, Childress was also responsible for formulating contingency plans were the Supreme Court to have ruled part of all of the health care law unconstitutional. He was also the architect of the president's executive order that halted deportation proceedings against those who were brought to the country illegally as children.

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It won't be Childress's first work overseas: in 2004, he worked as a lobbyist in Australia negotiating oil royalty deals on behalf of the aboriginal population there.

The appointment comes less than a week after the president visited the African nation, calling for new economic partnerships and a renewed commitment to trade.

In the same announcement, Obama nominated Carlos Moreno, a former associate justice on the California Supreme Court, as the ambassador to Belize, and Evan Ryan, a veteran of current Secretary of State John Kerry and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's presidential campaigns, as the State Department's Assistant Secretary for Educational and Cultural Affairs.

“These dedicated and accomplished individuals will be valued additions to my Administration as we tackle the important challenges facing America," Obama said in a statement. "I look forward to working with them in the months and years ahead.”

In a separate announcement, the president said that he had promoted Jonathan McBride to succeed Nancy Hogan as the White House's director of presidential personnel. 

McBride, who worked for both Goldman Sachs and Sen. Herb Kohl (D-Wis.), served as a deputy under Hogan, who was also an adviser to Daschle and worked on the president's first national campaign.

“As Director of Presidential Personnel for the last four years, Nancy Hogan has helped make sure this Administration attracts, grows and retains the most talented public servants.  More importantly, she’s made sure the American people are well-served by a group of dedicated men and women who work hard every day to uphold the public trust,” President Obama said in a statement. 

“I’m grateful to Nancy for her service, and to Jonathan McBride for agreeing to take her place.  Jonathan has the judgment and the experience to help us continue to move this country forward, and I look forward to working with him in his new role.”