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Obama spokesman Gibbs to leave position in early February

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UPDATE: White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs announced Wednesday that he will step down and become an political adviser to the president during his re-election campaign.

President Barack Obama’s press secretary may leave the White House in a few weeks, part of a reshuffle that could see as many as eight key changes in the administration, The Washington Post reported Wednesday.

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Robert Gibbs, who has been a senior voice in the White House since Obama took office nearly two years ago, is exploring a departure possibly to set up his own consulting firm and to play a lead role in his boss’s 2012 re-election campaign, the Post reported, citing two Democrats familiar with the deliberations.

The move, which the daily says could take place in the coming weeks, would mark the departure of one of Obama’s closest aides, an advisor who has been at his side since his days in the US Senate before running for president.

As Obama’s traveling spokesman during the 2008 campaign, Gibbs gained a reputation as a rapid rebuttal specialist while also advising Obama on key strategic matters.

Speculation has swirled about a rejigging of Obama’s inner circle, which would come as opposition Republicans take control of the House of Representatives and launch a bid to roll back Democratic legislation such as health care reform and reduce runaway government spending.

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A Clinton-era commerce secretary, Chicago political veteran and free-trade advocate William Daley, is being tipped to serve as the new chief of staff to replace Rahm Emanuel, who left to run for mayor of Chicago.

Obama is also expected to soon name a new chief for his National Economic Council following the departure of Lawrence Summers last year. Former Clinton-era official Gene Sperling is seen as a possible replacement.

Among key Obama staffers, his political guru David Axelrod is expected to decamp to Chicago to launch a 2012 reelection campaign.

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And David Plouffe, the political strategist who masterminded the vaunted state-by-state ground game in Obama’s 2008 election triumph, will meanwhile start work at the White House after two years on the sidelines.

The Post reported that Obama’s two deputy chiefs of staff, Jim Messina and Mona Sutphen, are also expected to leave, with Messina heading to Chicago to run the 2012 campaign.

Most of the positions are expected to go to people already working in the White House, or to former campaign loyalists, leaving Obama’s administration without a lot of fresh faces, the Post reported.

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Meanwhile on Tuesday, Vice President Joe Biden announced the departure later this month of his chief of staff Ron Klain, who reportedly will become president of Case Holdings, a holding company for former AOL chairman Steve Case.

US administrations routinely experience reshuffles at the halfway point of a presidential term.

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Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.



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Florida teacher suspended after boasting he’d have a 1000-student body count if he shot up his school

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A teacher at Lakeland High School in Florida has been placed under a temporary risk protection order after boasting that he could rack up a 1,000-person body count if he perpetrated a school shooting.

Keith Cook, a math teacher and a veteran, described hypothetical acts of violence to students during a lockdown drill, including how if he were a school shooter, he'd first plant IEDs around the school, start shooting, drive panicked people into the areas where he had rigged up the explosives, and then detonate them. Some students were horrified by what he described.

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If Trump were the raving mad King of Liechtenstein all of this would be comical

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Welcome to another edition of What Fresh Hell?, Raw Story’s roundup of news items that might have become controversies under another regime, but got buried – or were at least under-appreciated – due to the daily firehose of political pratfalls, unhinged tweet storms and other sundry embarrassments coming out of the current White House.

This week, a former White House official told Politico that “Trump’s been asking his government for some matter of months what can we do to make sure that China doesn’t get Greenland.”

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Donald Trump and the Jews: He’s exactly why most of us vote for Democrats

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If President Trump doesn't understand why a large majority of American Jews are Democrats, maybe he should take a look in the mirror.

In case you need a quick refresher, Trump sparked an enormous furor on Tuesday when he said, "I think any Jewish people that vote for a Democrat, I think it shows either a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty." He added that "five years ago, the concept of even talking about this . . . of cutting off aid to Israel because of two people that hate Israel and hate Jewish people — I can't believe we're even having this conversation. Where has the Democratic Party gone? Where have they gone where they're defending these two people over the State of Israel?"

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