WASHINGTON — White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel is expected to resign today, accelerating a midterm staff exodus that will give President Obama a chance to hit the reset button on his politically beleaguered presidency.
The departure of Emanuel, who will be heralded by Obama personally in a morning ceremony in the White House East Room, is the highest profile of several farewells that have included his top budget adviser, two of his top economic advisers and will soon include his national security adviser.
The turnover comes at a time when Obama suffers from disappointing approval ratings and expects big losses for his Democratic Party in November's elections for control of Congress.
However, don't expect Obama to use a change of staff to signal a change of course as he pivots to the second half of his term and a re-election campaign, perhaps with a Republican Congress breathing down his neck.
After all, Obama will remain at the helm. And most of the expected new appointees are already Obama loyalists ensconced in the West Wing or coming from other parts of the administration, such as deputy chief of staff Pete Rouse, who's expected to be named chief of staff, or acting chief, today.
"Pete has been with senator-elect, senator, president-elect and now President Obama," White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said of Rouse. "There is a complete loyalty and trust with somebody like Pete. Pete's strategic sense has played a big part in the direction of virtually every big decision that's made inside of this White House. I think the type of trust that the president and others throughout this administration have in Pete is enormous."