The White House Chief of Staff successor to Rahm Emanuel, Bill Daley, has stepped down, President Barack Obama announced Monday. Budget director Jack Lew will take over to lead the West Wing staff going forward.
But Daley has other prospects. He confirmed to NBCChicago by email that he will co-chair Obama's Chicago-based 2012 campaign.
Daley submitted his resignation to the president last week in a private meeting with Obama in the Oval Office. Obama said Daley told him it was time to return to "our beloved hometown, Chicago."
It was a decision Obama said Daley made over the holidays with his family.
"There is no question that I'm going to deeply miss having Bill at my side here at the White House," Obama said during a brief Monday afternoon press conference.
Still, Obama said, Chicago is "only a phone call away," and the president says he plans to call that number "quite a bit."
The announcement isn't a total surprise. Daley telegraphed his move to NBCChicago during a sit-down interview in October.
“I made a commitment to the president through his re-election," Daley said, "which I’m confident he will do, and then my wife and I will be back in Chicago."
At that time, Daley said he planned to step down after the election season. This is obviously sooner.
Daley didn't always seem happy in the role of Chief of Staff. He often criticized his predecessor, Rahm Emanuel, for creating lasting friction in the West Wing that made it difficult for him to operate.
Still Obama called Daley "an outstanding chief of staff during one of the busiest and most consequential years" of the president's administration.
The move means both of Obama's former chiefs of staff are back in Chicago.
Daley hopes to spend more time with his family, especially his grandchildren, Obama said.
One such family member, Richard M. Daley, welcomed the news.
"I'm very proud of my brother's ongoing commitment to public service and to the people of this great country," said former Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley. "It is an honor for him to have been asked by the President to serve in his administration, and Bill remains grateful for the opportunity."