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Obama appoints McDonough as new chief of staff

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Calling him “an indispensable member” of his national security team, Obama explained that he has relied on McDonough’s “intellect and good judgment” for the better part of a decade, first as a Senate staffer and recently as deputy national security adviser.

“The truth is, nobody outworks Denis McDonough,” Obama said during the personnel announcement in the East Room of the White House, adding that he is “one of my closest and most trusted advisers.”

The president quipped that McDonough was an original member of his Senate staff who “was able to show me where the restrooms are” and “how you pass a bill.”

McDonough will be Obama's fourth chief of staff, and the first who comes to the office with more of a portfolio on national security than on domestic issues. Obama's first chief of staff was former Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.), and his second chief of staff was former Secretary of Commerce William Daley. Lew has served in the position since last January.

A White House official credited McDonough with playing a key role in all of Obama's national-security decisions, including the end of the war in Iraq and the troop withdrawal in Afghanistan. McDonough has also helped in the response to natural disasters in Haiti and Japan, along with the repeal of the military's “Don't ask, don't tell” policy.

The official also played up McDonough’s roots on Capitol Hill, arguing he understood the importance of working with Republicans, “whether it's on jobs and the economy, healthcare or education, reducing the deficit or addressing climate change.”

For more on Obama's appointment, click here.