Melody Barnes will leave her post as President Obama’s top domestic policy adviser at the end of the year for both personal reasons and to be able to help on the president’s reelection campaign, the White House confirmed Thursday.
“I will always be grateful that a woman of Melody’s brilliance, creativity and heart led our domestic policy team during such a challenging time for our nation,” said the president in a statement. “Melody has left a lasting legacy, developing and implementing policies that have helped remake our education system, spurred innovation, and fostered opportunity and equality for millions of Americans.”
Barnes’ departure was unexpected and is another loss of a key part of the original team the president took to the White House in 2009.
Her decision was first reported by Politico, which quoted her as saying she wants to “move out of a 24/7 work schedule and on to the next phase of my life.” She said she will look for opportunities in the private sector and will stay involved in the domestic issues that have been her purview at the White House.
Barnes came to the White House after overseeing the domestic agenda in the 2008 campaign. A native of Richmond, Va., she focused heavily on education, health care and nutrition issues. She was previously a staffer for then-Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass.