Obama plans White House personnel reshuffle

Friday, December 24, 2010

WASHINGTON - US President Barack Obama is planning to reshuffle his leadership team as attention turns to the 2012 presidential election, the New York Times reported Friday.

Obama will unveil the first changes in early January, after reviewing the restructuring plan over the holidays, the paper said.

The reorganisation will come midway through his first term in office and coincide with the Republican Party taking control of the House of Representatives, the lower house of parliament - a major setback for Obama’s Democratic Party.

The president is now looking to maximize the power of the executive branch, the New York Times wrote.

His outgoing senior advisor, David Axelrod, told the paper that the administration will not undergo “wholesale changes.”

“But there will be significant changes,” he added. “There’s an advantage to bringing in folks who have a fresh set of senses - smell, touch and feel - about what’s going on out there.”

Press secretary Robert Gibbs may reportedly be appointed to a new position in the White House or on Obama’s re-election team. The president also has to name a new National Economic Council director to replace Lawrence Summers.

His cabinet has, however, remained fairly consistent, with only Defence Secretary Robert Gates expected to leave next year, according to the New York Times.

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