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President Obama is not preparing a dramatic overhaul of his staff in the event of a disastrous midterm election, White House press secretary Josh Earnest indicated Monday.

While President George W. Bush fired Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld immediately after Republicans lost the House in the 2006 midterms, Earnest suggested Obama would not make a similar move.

{mosads}“I think what will be different is that there have been some presidents who have felt compelled in the aftermath of the midterm elections to publicly fire high-profile members of the administration,” Earnest said. “At this point I don’t anticipate that that will happen later this week.”

Bush isn’t the only president that made a big move after a losing midterm.

Presidents Eisenhower and Reagan also dismissed their chiefs of staff shortly after midterm losses in their second terms.

Speculation has swirled that senior presidential adviser Dan Pfeiffer, deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes or communications director Jennifer Palmieri could leave the White House. Obama counselor John Podesta has already signaled his intention to leave at the end of the year, possibly to a spot in Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.

Earnest indicated such moves were unlikely to change perceptions of the president among voters.

“My guess is those who have done the analytics here aren’t going to suggest that the way that the president can sort of change his leadership is by, you know, hiring and firing a couple of staff members at the White House,” Earnest said.

He also downplayed the significance of the midterm elections, saying that although the vote was important, the White House would only divine a limited message from the contests.

“It would not be wise to draw as broad a conclusion about the outcome of this election as you would from a national presidential election, simply by virtue of the map and the states where this contest is taking place,” Earnest said.

Many of the big Senate races are being held in states lost by Obama in the past two presidential elections. Colorado and Iowa, where Obama won in 2008 and 2012, are exceptions.

At the same time, Earnest did not rule out the possibility of significant turnover through attrition. 

“Traditionally after a midterm election it’s not uncommon for members of the president’s staff to use the opportunity of that election or its aftermath to leave the White House and sort of engage in a transition,” he said. “So I would anticipate that there will be members, colleagues of mine here at the White House, who will do exactly that.”

Tags 2014 midterms Barack Obama Donald Rumsfeld George W. Bush Josh Earnest Race for the Senate
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