President Obama's Peter Rouse: Who Is He? : It's All Politics Peter Rouse, a senior advisor to President Barack Obama and a long-time Washington insider, worked for nearly two decades for Sen. Tom Daschle before becoming Obama's chief of staff and guiding the young senator's course.
NPR logo President Obama's Peter Rouse: Who Is He?

President Obama's Peter Rouse: Who Is He?

Peter Rouse in June 2010.  Charles Dharapak/AP Photo hide caption

toggle caption
Charles Dharapak/AP Photo

Peter Rouse, Rahm Emanuel's successor as chief of staff to President Barack Obama's chief of staff, is someone intimately familiar with how Washington works.

The soft-spoken 64-year old, a senior advisor to the president, is a man who especially knows how the Senate works.

For 18 years Rouse, a New Haven, Conn. native worked for Tom Daschle who, as a senator representing South Dakota, led the Senate Democrats as their majority and minority leader.

It is widely reported that Rouse was so much a part of the Senate's fabric, he became known as "the 101st senator."

After Daschle was defeated by Republican Sen. John Thune in 2004, Rouse joined Obama's team, becoming the new senator's chief of staff.

One of his most important contributions was to craft Obama's first-year strategic plan which was meant to keep the charismatic junior senate newcomer from antagonizing his more senior colleagues.

To that end, it set a goal for Obama to diligently work on a few key issues, like ethics reform and nuclear non-proliferation and to avoid as much as possible the glare of the national media interviews, at least for that first year.

Rouse has described his job succinctly as "I fix things" and that is an apt description of what White House chiefs of staff must do. When heads have to be knocked, they knock them.

Their job is to make sure anything that gets in the way of the president's agenda gets taken care of. Rouse's long career of riding herd on a lot of high powered egos makes him seem a natural choice to replace Emanuel.

The Washington Post's provides good background information on Rouse.