Updated at 8:43 a.m. on January 6.
President Obama met today with William Daley, the former Commerce secretary, and intends to decide within the next 48 hours whether to ask Daley to serve as his chief of staff.
The New York Times reported that Daley also had meetings scheduled with key presidential advisers, including Gene Sperling, who is expected to be named director of the National Economic Council on Friday. These meetings would seem to indicate the president may be close to hiring the former Commerce secretary and revamping his West Wing, albeit with familiar figures from the Clinton administration and Obama's 2008 presidential campaign.
Daley's White House arrival was spotted by an NBC camera operator today.
The president's advisers said that his meeting with Daley was akin to a formal job interview, even though the president has known the J.P. Morgan executive for years as a friend. These advisers said they did not know for sure that Pete Rouse, the current chief of staff, was out of the running, insisting that the president is keeping his own counsel on the decision and that he could well decide to make Rouse's temporary appointment a permanent one.
For his part, Rouse has told associates that he does not want the job permanently, but it is not clear whether he would refuse a formal offer from the president.
Bearing in mind the timing of the president's decision, the West Wing is gearing up for a formal announcement of several key staff hires and promotions on Friday, including Sperling, his top deputy, and a new addition to the Council of Economic Advisers. Friday's announcement might also include a notice of promotion for Nancy-Ann DeParle, currently the chief health policy official, to senior adviser with a larger domestic policy portfolio.
A replacement for press secretary Robert Gibbs, who announced his resignation today, is likely more than a week away.
CORRECTION: The original version of this report misspelled the name of Nancy-Ann DeParle.