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Poll: Which Is Stronger, Obama's First-Term or Second-Term White House Staff? Poll: Which Is Stronger, Obama's First-Term or Second-Term White House...

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Poll: Which Is Stronger, Obama's First-Term or Second-Term White House Staff?


(AP photo)

On balance, do you think President Obama's second-term White House staff is stronger, weaker, or about the same as his first-term staff?


Stronger: 12%
Weaker: 43%
About the same: 45%



"Most second-term staffs are more professional and experienced."

"Rahm [Emanuel] was a disaster [as chief of staff] and principally responsible for the health care debacle. [Jacob] Lew and [Denis] McDonough are solid."



"Grown-ups are in short supply."

"Staff is MIA. Where's the energy?"

"Besides the fact that it lacks diversity, it lacks deep experience at federal intergovernmental relationships."


"And the first one wasn't strong."

"It's the insiders in charge, people he's comfortable with but not as well connected to the outside world he needs to succeed in."


"For months, they have felt adrift—no decisive leadership behind Obama. Their defensive posture on just about everything isn't working. The many crises seem to keep catching them by surprise."

"It's never as good the second time around."

About the same

"They're good people, but many of them have been there too long. It was a long campaign and a tough first term. After seven years of battling, some of them are worn out."

"A lot of talent left, but those who remain are more experienced. It's a wash."

"The circumstances are pretty different, given that he started out with a Democratic Congress. The second term requires different skills, and I think his current staff is navigating it pretty well."

"More stability. Less energy. Equal aloofness."

"The issue is not the team. The issue is his refusal to professionalize the White House staff."


On balance, do you think President Obama's second-term White House staff is stronger, weaker, or about the same as his first-term staff?


Stronger: 1%
Weaker: 60%
About the same: 39%


"This always happens. The talent that helped the president gain office leaves to cash in, and bureaucrat-types move in."

"What happened to the days when John Sununu made as much news as the POTUS? That helped the administration. Obama is not being well served here."

"The legislative team is third tier. There is no congressional interaction with either party."

"Ain't nobody like Rahmbo."

"Everyone in Washington knows there is only one White House staffer of consequence: Valerie Jarrett. The rest just answer phones and write memos."

"Every second-term team is weaker in many respects. This team has the dual distinction of being true believers in the cause (no devil's advocates allowed), while turnover has forced the second team to take on starter-level roles."

"From Team of Rivals to a bunch of Yes Men and Women."

About the same

"They were both weak. The failures of the first team are now coming to public attention."

"Hack life cycle: Inexperienced campaign aides who got jobs at the start of the administration become experienced White House staff who move on and get replaced by inexperienced campaign aides."

"It's a purely political staff, so the outcomes have been without substance or sustainability; witness the unraveling of Obamacare."

"It always looks like you are doing a worse job when the press covers what you're doing."

"Would be weaker if not for Denis McDonough, who was a great addition."

. . . . . . . . . . . .

Democratic Political Insiders Jill Alper, John Anzalone, Brad Bannon, Dave Beattie, Andy Bechhoefer, Cornell Belcher, Matt Bennett, Mitchell W. Berger, Mike Berman, Stephanie Bosh, Paul Brathwaite, Donna Brazile, Mark Brewer, Ed Bruley, George Bruno, Bonnie Campbell, Bill Carrick, Guy Cecil, Martin J. Chavez, Tony Coelho, Larry Cohen, Jerry Crawford, Brendan Daly, Jeff Danielson, Peter Daou, Howard Dean, Scott DeFife, Jim Demers, Tad Devine, David Di Martino, Debbie Dingell, Monica Dixon, Patrick Dorton, Pat Dujakovich, Anita Dunn, Jeff Eller, Steve Elmendorf, Carter Eskew, Vic Fazio, Peter Fenn, Scott Ferson, Jim Fleischmann, Tina Flournoy, Don Foley, Jeffrey Forbes, Vincent Frillici, Gina Glantz, Niles Godes, John Michael Gonzalez, Joe Grandmaison, Anna Greenberg, Stan Greenberg, Pat Griffin, Larry Grisolano, Michael Gronstal, Lisa Grove, Marcia Hale, Jill Hanauer, Dick Harpootlian, Paul Harstad, Laura Hartigan, Doug Hattaway, Mike Henry, Karen Hicks, Leo Hindery Jr., Harold Ickes, Marcus Jadotte, John Jameson, Steve Jarding, Jonathon Jones, Jim Jordan, Gale Kaufman, Lisa Kountoupes, Celinda Lake, David Lang, Penny Lee, Chris Lehane, Jeff Link, Bob Maloney, Jim Manley, Steve Marchand, Jim Margolis, Paul Maslin, Keith Mason, Susan McCue, Gerald McEntee, Steve McMahon, Tom McMahon, Phil McNamara, David Medina, Michael Meehan, Mark Mellman, John Merrigan, Michael Monroe, Steve Murphy, Janet Napolitano, David Nassar, Marcia Nichols, John Norris, Tom Ochs, Tom O'Donnell, Jeffrey Peck, Debora Pignatelli, Tony Podesta, Jefrey Pollock, Jack Quinn, Larry Rasky, Mame Reiley, Ed Rendell, Steve Ricchetti, Will Robinson, Steve Rosenthal, David Rudd, Ryan Rudominer, John Ryan, Michael Sargeant, Stephanie Schriock, Terry Shumaker, Sean Sinclair, Phil Singer, Erik Smith, Doug Sosnik, Greg Speed, Darry Sragow, Ken Strasma, Doug Thornell, Jeffrey Trammell, Ed Turlington, Rick Wiener, James Williams, JoDee Winterhof, Brian Wolff, Jon Youngdahl, and Jim Zogby.

GOP Political Insiders Dan Allen, Stan Anderson, Gary Andres, Saulius (Saul) Anuzis, Rich Ashooh, Whit Ayres, Brett Bader, Mitch Bainwol, Brian Baker, Gary Bauer, David Beckwith, Paul Bennecke, Clark Benson, Wayne Berman, Brian Bieron, Charlie Black, Kirk Blalock, Carmine Boal, Jeff Boeyink, Ron Bonjean, Jeff Buley, Luke Byars, Nick Calio, Al Cardenas, Danny Carroll, Alex Castellanos, Ron Christie, Jim Cicconi, Jonathan Collegio, Rob Collins, Cesar Conda, Jake Corman, Scott Cottington, Jay Cranford, Greg Crist, Diane Crookham-Johnson, Fergus Cullen, Tom Davis, Mike Dennehy, Ken Duberstein, Debi Durham, Sara Fagen, Frank Fahrenkopf, John Feehery, Don Fierce, Mindy Finn, Carl Forti, Alex Gage, Bruce A. Gates, Sam Geduldig, Adam Geller, Benjamin Ginsberg, David Girard-diCarlo, Bill Greener, Jonathan Grella, Lanny Griffith, Janet Mullins Grissom, Doug Gross, Todd Harris, Steve Hart, Christopher Healy, Ralph Hellmann, Chris Henick, Terry Holt, David Iannelli, Ed Ingle, Jim Innocenzi, Clark Judge, David Keating, David Kensinger, Bob Kjellander, Ed Kutler, Chris LaCivita, Jim Lake, Steven Law, Steve Lombardo, Kevin Madden, Joel Maiola, Gary Maloney, David Marin, Mary Matalin, Dan Mattoon, Brian McCormack, Mark McKinnon, Kyle McSlarrow, Ken Mehlman, Jim Merrill, Lisa Camooso Miller, Tim Morrison, Mike Murphy, Phil Musser, Ron Nehring, Terry Nelson, Neil Newhouse, David Norcross, Ziad Ojakli, Jack Oliver, Todd Olsen, Kevin O'Neill, Connie Partoyan, Billy Piper, Van B. Poole, Tom Rath, Scott Reed, David Rehr, Tom Reynolds, Steve Roberts, Jason Roe, David Roederer, Dan Schnur, Russ Schriefer, Rich Schwarm, Brent Seaborn, Rick Shelby, Andrew Shore, Kevin Shuvalov, Don Sipple, Ken Spain, Fred Steeper, Bob Stevenson, Terry Sullivan, David Tamasi, Eric Tanenblatt, Richard Temple, Heath Thompson, Jay Timmons, Warren Tompkins, Ted Van Der Meid, Dirk van Dongen, Jan van Lohuizen, Stewart Verdery, Dick Wadhams, John Weaver, Lezlee Westine, Dave Winston, Ginny Wolfe, Fred Wszolek, and Matthew Zablud. 

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