Alum chosen by Obama as Chief of Staff
Rutgers University student took his life after being the victim of cyber-bullying.
President Obama announced Pete Rouse '68 as his new interim chief of staff on Oct 1. Rouse was appointed immediately following Rahm Emanuel's resignation, due to his decision to run in Chicago's upcoming mayoral race.
After graduating from the College, Rouse received an Master in Public Administration from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University in 1977. He worked with various members of Congress for more than 30 years and spent 18 of those years as South Dakota Senator Tom Daschle's chief of staff.
He intended to retire when Daschle lost the 2004 election, but a friend of Obama's asked Rouse to be Obama's chief of staff when he was an Illinois Senator, and he eagerly accepted. Rouse began preparing for Obama's presidential bid before Obama had even decided to run. As reported by a Washington Post publication, Rouse said he tried to "set up [Obama's] operation, get a good team in place [and] get a good structure". I'll lay that foundation, and we'll see what happens."
Two years later, Obama ran for president. Rouse accompanied Obama to the White House in 2008 as one of the president's three special advisers, alongside David Axelrod and Valerie Jarrett. Rouse is credited with taking over Obama's plan to close Guantanamo Bay's terrorist detention camps—a daunting task which he eagerly tackled.
In his new position as chief of staff, Rouse will be responsible for guiding policy and politics, responding on behalf of the administration in interviews and managing the president's Cabinet among other tasks. Although Rouse's colleagues describe him as quiet, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said that "Pete's strategic sense has played a big part in the direction of virtually every big decision that's made inside the White House," ABC-News reported.
The 'interim' prefix of his new title implies that Rouse may only be a temporary solution to Emanuel's sudden resignation. A permanent chief of staff replacement should be chosen after the November 2 midterm elections, and Gibbs said that Rouse may continue in his new position. The six years Rouse has spent working with Obama may help him secure the job.
"There's a saying around the White House, "'Let's let Pete fix it,' and he does," Obama said in a 2008 interview, as reported by ABC News. Rouse is "as well-connected, and as well-known and as popular and as smart and as savvy a person there is on Capitol Hill," Obama said.