White House calls in help as Obama ratings tank

McClatchy Washington BureauDecember 10, 2013 

The White House is calling in a longtime Democratic strategist and former chief of staff for President Bill Clinton as President Obama grapples with the worst ratings of his presidency.

John Podesta, the founder and former president of the Center for American Progress, has agreed to come aboard for a year, a source familiar with the talks said.

Press Secretary Jay Carney said Podesta would be joining as a counselor to Obama, noting that Podesta has already served as an informal advisor to Obama and his chief of staff, Denis McDonough.

Carney said Podesta will advise Obama "on a range of issues," with a focus on energy and climate change.

"He will obviously bring a lot of experience to bear," Carney said. "We look forward to having him."

The New York Times said Podesta will help McDonough on matters related to the troubled rollout of Obama's health care law.

Podesta served as co-chair of Obama’s presidential transition and his bio says he coordinated the priorities of the incoming administration’s agenda, oversaw the development of policies, and spearheaded appointments of major cabinet secretaries and political appointees.

Former Obama senior advisor David Axelrod ‏called Podesta a "great and timely addition" to the White House.

"He's smart, experienced & committed to progressive agenda," Axelrod tweeted. "He'll help move things forward."

Carney said Obama looked forward to Podesta's arrival and moving forward on a climate action. He noted as Clinton's chief of staff Podesta had helped Clinton with executive actions -- acting on issues where it couldn't get congressional support.

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