Counselor to the President
District of Columbia
Peter Mikami “Pete” Rouse (born April 15, 1946) is an American political consultant who served as interim White House Chief of Staff to U.S. President Barack Obama. Rouse has spent years on Capitol Hill, becoming known as the ’101st senator’ during his tenure as Chief of Staff to Senate Democratic leader Tom Daschle. When Daschle lost his seat in 2004, Rouse was persuaded to stay in Congress as Chief of Staff to then-freshman Senator Barack Obama. Rouse followed Obama to the White House as a senior advisor in 2008 and became interim Chief of Staff there for several months upon the departure of Rahm Emanuel in October 2010.
During the first half of Obama’s term, Rouse was one of three White House officials with the title Senior Adviser to the President, along with David Axelrod and Valerie Jarrett. In an interview, Rouse said that he “basically does the inside, organizational stuff and strategic stuff internally,” adding that he had no desire to be the “outside person” but preferred to leave external relations to Axelrod, Jarrett and Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel. Rouse said the Deputy Chiefs of Staff, Jim Messina and Mona Sutphen, “who run the place from day to day,” report to him. Asked about his overall portfolio, he said “I fix things.” He described himself as one of several problem fixers in a collaborative environment.
The Rolling Stone described Rouse as a low profile, calm and legislatively connected manager, quoting one “top Democratic strategist” as saying that “Rouse’s the one who brought ‘no drama’ to Obama. His enforcement makes it work.”
In September 2009, the Washington Post reported that Rouse was heading the White House’s efforts to close the Guantanamo Bay prison.
When Rahm Emanuel left the White House in October 2010 to run for Mayor of Chicago, Rouse became the “interim” Chief of Staff at the White House. Rouse is the first Asian American Chief of Staff in U.S. history.
On January 6, 2011 it was announced that William M. Daley would succeed Rouse as permanent Chief of Staff in late January or early February. Rouse will continue at the White House as the Counselor to the President, which is considered a promotion from his previous role as Senior Adviser.[