Obama close to picking new White House counsel

The White House, seen from the South Lawn. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
The White House, seen from the South Lawn. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Chatter has it that President Obama is getting close to announcing a successor to White House counsel Kathy Ruemmler, who’s leaving soon-ish for private practice in New York.

As we reported last month, the search was on for someone who’s a legal powerhouse with some substantial private practice and political or legislative experience — someone like a Lloyd Cutler or an Abner Mikva.

The two top contenders for the job, we had heard, were former associate attorney general — that’s the third-ranking person at Justice – Tom Perrelli, Obama’s former Harvard Law Review colleague and a good pal, and former Clinton White House associate counsel Neil Eggleston.

The smart money appears to be moving of late to Eggleston, a veteran Washington hand and white collar defense lawyer. He was former White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel’s lawyer during the trial of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, worked on executive privilege matters for the White House during the Lewinsky affair and defended lots of other top government officials.

He was also a Supreme Court  law clerk to former Chief Justice Warren Burger. The mind reels: Rahm and Warren, together again.

Al Kamen, an award-winning columnist on the national staff of The Washington Post, created the “In the Loop” column in 1993.
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Al Kamen · January 30