Ward Room
Covering Chicago's nine political influencers

Bill Daley Weighs in on Presidential Race




    Former White House Chief of Staff opens up about the killing of Osama bin Laden and presidential politics. (Published Wednesday, Apr 25, 2012)

    Former White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley on Wednesday didn't name names, but he made his thoughts known about the presidential race.

    "I laugh when I hear a CEO should be president," Daley said, noting the many conflicting issues a president must juggle. 

    "The president is a wonderful fellow. We should be proud of him."

    Daley, successor to Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and brother of former Mayor Richard Daley, spoke to only about 100 at the Union League, but he described his year at the White House as "the greatest professional thing of my life."

    Speaking of his job, Daley recalled everything from calling President Barack Obama in the middle of night about a tsunami heading toward Japan to, "in the spring, it was all about the economy."

    He described witnessing the capture of Osama Bin Laden as "truly remarkable" and "one of great events in America history."

    "If you went to 26th and California and asked a judge for a search warrant, there's no way you'd get one," he said, noting the meetings were secret leading up to event. "There are all kinds of leaks," he said, but "no one talked about it."

    Daley even joked about the one photo showing them all waiting for word on the capture and how he's the only one wearing a coat and tie. "If my mother were alive, she would have been proud," he said.

    As for the difference between working for Bill Clinton and Obama?  "The mood," he said. "The whole idea of constant news cycles: bloggers, constant news."

    He referred to the instantaneous cycle as "the nastiness." He'd say "I didn't mean it that way" but was told "you said it."

    "It's changing the ability to govern," he said. 

    When asked if he might run for office, Daley hedged and wouldn't say "never." At the same time, he didn't suggest it's on his current agenda.