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Obama picks foreign policy aide as chief of staff

By The Associated Press

This article was originally published January 25, 2013 at 9:16 a.m. Updated January 25, 2013 at 10:53 a.m.

this-march-6-2011-file-photo-shows-then-deputy-national-security-adviser-denis-mcdonough-speaking-in-sterling-va-the-white-house-says-president-barack-obama-has-picked-the-now-top-national-security-aide-denis-mcdonough-as-his-next-chief-of-staff

This March 6, 2011 file photo shows then-Deputy National Security Adviser Denis McDonough speaking in Sterling, Va. The White House says President Barack Obama has picked the now-top national security aide Denis McDonough as his next chief of staff.

— President Barack Obama has chosen trusted adviser and national security expert Denis McDonough as his fifth chief of staff.

A White House official said in a statement that Obama will announce McDonough’s appointment Friday in the East Room. McDonough, 43, will take over the key West Wing role from Jack Lew, Obama’s nominee for Treasury secretary.

McDonough has advised Obama on foreign policy for nearly a decade and most recently served as the president’s deputy national security adviser. He is highly regarded by White House staffers.

McDonough’s place in Obama’s inner circle was illustrated during the Navy SEAL raid that killed Osama bin Laden in May 2011. He is among those captured in a White House photograph seated in the situation room with Obama and other senior officials watching the raid unfold.

The White House official, speaking on condition of anonymity in order to speak before the president’s announcement, said McDonough has played a key role in all of Obama’s major national security decisions in recent years, including the end of the war in Iraq, winding down the war in Afghanistan, responses to natural disasters in Haiti and Japan and repeal of the military’s ban on openly gay service members.

Earlier, McDonough worked as a foreign policy specialist in Congress, including as a senior foreign policy adviser to former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D., before moving to Obama’s Senate office.

McDonough’s new role was previously filled by Rahm Emanuel, William Daly and Pete Rouse, as interim chief of staff, before Lew.

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