Who was Obama's chief of staff

Hardly anyone has heard his name outside of Washington’s political circles. This is going to change. Pete Rouse rises to become the most powerful man in the White House, just behind the President: Barack Obama has promoted his previous advisor to temporary chief of staff. Until after the congressional elections in November, perhaps longer, the 64-year-old, known for his calm and prudence, will be the successor of the bustling Rahm Emanuel, the managing director of the White House, so to speak.

In the White House, Rouse is more fixated, which can perhaps be translated as a problem solver. In contrast to its rough predecessor, Rouse is a man of balance. Not one anecdote has been passed down in which he was loud to employees. The only question is whether, after the election, instead of a silent insider, Obama would rather have a personality as chief of staff that also has an external impact.

The president has known Rouse for six years. He had just become a senator then; and Rouse had lost his job as Chief of Staff to Senate Leader Tom Daschle because his boss was surprisingly voted out of office. Rouse was something of a living legend in the Senate at the time. He was considered the "101st Senator" because of his knowledge and connections on the 100-strong body.

Rouse received his new boss with a folder in which he had sketched the individual steps of Obama's career in the Senate. He wrote similar scripts again later, when his boss had decided to run for president and before Obama moved into the White House. Consequently, Rouse was also the man who put Obama's highly acclaimed transition team together before taking office.

In these few years he has gained the President's trust, which is also evident from the fact that Rouse moved into Obama's White House as a "Senior Advisor". This is a title that otherwise only Valerie Jarrett and David Axelrod, two long-time companions from Chicago, are allowed to hold. "He is completely free of ego," says Obama of his advisor.

Rouse is held in high esteem in Washington, although, or perhaps precisely because, he doesn't do what you have to do in the US capital to belong. Rarely have you met him at receptions and parties, and not even in those places where you go mainly to be seen. Even when his former boss Daschle gave a farewell reception for all employees, the most important member of the team was missing: Chief of Staff Rouse, who had previously made sure that all helpers who were now threatened with unemployment found a new job.

With such a reluctance to face the spotlight, it's no surprise that little is known about Rouse's personal life. He's a bachelor, has two Maine Coon cats (a native American breed) and loves music - during the election campaign he got the surviving members of the Grateful Dead band to perform for Obama. He should use the gift of persuasion in his new job.