By Sam Youngman - 09/16/11 04:06 PM EDT
The White House defended Chief of Staff Bill Daley on Friday as an “excellent leader.”
The defense at a White House press briefing came amid grumbles about Daley, who joined the administration late last year. President Obama's poll ratings have dipped since then, and Daley was at the center of an embarrassing episode weeks ago about the timing of Obama's jobs address to a joint session of Congress.
White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters that Daley came into office in early 2011 at “pretty critical and remarkable time.”
He said that Daley has performed admirably during a time that has seen significant challenges, specifically dealing with a Republican-controlled House.
Carney said that Daley has "had to deal with divided leadership on Capitol Hill, and he has handled those responsibilities with great skill and elan."
Carney was asked about a handful of news stories appearing this week that suggest Democrats are unhappy with Daley's stewardship of the White House. Some reports even suggest that many Democrats miss the style that former chief of staff and current Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel brought to the job.
Daley, a veteran from the Clinton administration with years of experience in the private sector, was brought in to help forge better ties for the White House with business groups.
Two weeks ago he told Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) of the president's intention to deliver a speech to a joint session of Congress on Sept. 6 at the same time as a GOP presidential debate. Hours later, Boehner rejected the timing, forcing the White House to agree to move the speech to Sept. 8.