Political Insider's Ascent To Top NSC Job Thomas Donilon, President Obama's pick to head the National Security Council, cut his teeth in Democratic Party politics. He served in President Clinton's State Department and also was a partner in a Washington law firm.

Political Insider's Ascent To Top NSC Job

Thomas Donilon, President Obama's pick to head the National Security Council, cut his teeth in Democratic Party politics.

Donilon began his political career during the Carter years, serving in the White House Office of Congressional Liaison. From 1979-80, he worked on the unsuccessful Carter-Mondale presidential campaign, and in 1983 he became the national campaign coordinator and convention director for Walter Mondale's own bid for the presidency. In 1988, Donilon served as a senior adviser to the Dukakis-Bentsen presidential campaign. He also worked on the successful runs of former President Clinton and President Obama.

In 1991, Donilon stepped into the private sector as a partner with the Washington office of the national law firm O'Melveny and Myers before joining the Clinton administration. He served as assistant secretary for public affairs for the State Department and as chief of staff to Secretary of State Warren Christopher.

From 1999 to 2005, Donilon held several positions at Fannie Mae, the federally chartered mortgage company, including senior vice president, general counsel and secretary. He retuned to O'Melveny in 2005.

Donilon joined Obama's transition team and then moved to the White House after the 2008 election. He was named deputy national security adviser in 2009 and national security adviser on Friday.

Donilon graduated from Catholic University in Washington, D.C., in 1977 and the University of Virginia Law School in 1985. He lives in Washington with his wife, Catherine Russell, who is chief of staff for Vice President Biden's wife, Jill.