Departure of White House spokesman part of 'major retooling'

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs on Wednesday called his departure part of a "major retooling" of President Obama's senior staff.

In the coming days, Obama is set to announce a new chief of staff, and on Friday a new national economic adviser, among others economic aides.

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David Plouffe, Obama's campaign manager, is expected to begin work at the White House on Monday as the president's top adviser, as David Axelrod prepares to leave for Chicago to advise Obama's reelection campaign.

Gibbs, briefing the press hours after his departure was announced, declined to comment on who might fill some of the top roles, but William Daley is said to be the likely chief of staff, and Gene Sperling is considered the favorite to replace Lawrence Summers as National Economic Council director.

Gibbs, who will stay on in his current role until early next month, also would not say who might replace him at the podium. Deputy press secretaries Bill Burton and Josh Earnest, as well as Vice President Joe Biden's spokesman, Jay Carney, have been mentioned as possibilities.

Gibbs, whose tenure at the podium has been marked by intense battles with Republicans, the media and even liberal members of the president's party, said that after signing on with Obama in 2004, it's "time for a little break."

Gibbs, a close friend of Obama's, will take on a revised role in the private sector, advocating on the president’s behalf on television and in speeches.

Gibbs would not rule out a return to the White House at some point, joking that he has already volunteered his services to be the next ambassador to Italy.

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