(CBS) President Obama is likely to name Denis McDonough, one of his closest national security advisers, as his next chief of staff, White House officials told CBS News Chief White House Correspondent Major Garrett.
However, White House officials insist Mr. Obama has not made a final decision or formally offered McDonough the job.
In tapping McDonough, Mr. Obama would be relying on an inner circle ally for the key West Wing post. McDonough, 43, currently serves as the president's deputy national security adviser and is highly regarded by the president and White House staffers.
McDonough would replace current White House chief of staff Jack Lew, the president's nominee for treasury secretary.
Before his tenure in the White House, McDonough served as Mr. Obama's main adviser on foreign policy issues during the 2008 presidential campaign. Earlier, he worked as a foreign policy specialist in Congress, including as a senior foreign policy adviser to former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D. While his experience is in national security and foreign policy, he has little experience dealing with the lobbying community or big party donors.
McDonough has been the front-runner to replace Lew, whom Mr. Obama has nominated as Treasury secretary. He would be Mr. Obama's fifth chief of staff. Rahm Emanuel, William Daly and Pete Rouse, as interim chief of staff, preceded Lew in the job.
If Mr. Obama chooses McDonough it will likely be less because of his national security credentials and more because of McDonough's highly regarded status within the White House with key knowledge of West Wing power centers and personalities, Garrett reports. He also ranks near the top in terms of loyalty and close working relationship with the president.
"He's easy to work with and focused on getting the job done for the boss, hammering out the best policy possible given the political realities," said Doug Hattaway, a Democratic consultant who worked with McDonough in the Senate.
McDonough's place in Mr. Obama's inner circle was illustrated during the Navy SEAL raid that killed Osama bin Laden in May 2011. He is among those captured in a White House photograph seated in the situation room with Mr. Obama and other senior officials watching the raid unfold.
McDonough grew up in Minnesota, one of 11 children. Two of his brothers are priests. He is a graduate of St. John's University in Minnesota and received his master's degree from Georgetown University.
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