At a Glance
- Career History: Acting NSC Chief of Staff (since October 2009-October 2010); Director of Strategic Communications, National Security Council (since January 2009-October 2010) Member of President Barack Obama 's transition team (Nov. 2008 to Jan. 2009); Foreign Policy adviser to Barack Obama 's 2008 Presidential campaign (2006 to 2008); Center for American Progress, Senior Fellow (2004 to 2006)
- Birthday: Dec. 2, 1969
- Hometown: Stillwater, Minn.
- Alma Mater: St. John's University (Minnesota); Georgetown University, M.S. in Foreign Service, 1996.
- Religion: Catholic
- Office: The White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
- Web site
Path to Power
McDonough was a staffer on the House International Relations Committee from 1996 through 1999. He then joined Daschle's (D-S.D.) foreign policy team, where he worked until 2004, advising him on terrorism, AIDS and Middle East policy.
When Daschle lost his reelection bid, McDonough followed him to the Center for American Progress, a progressive think-tank founded by former Clinton Chief of Staff John D. Podesta. There he researched health-care policy as a senior fellow and adviser to Daschle.
McDonough has argued for a common-good approach to foreign policy, saying that the U.S. must address problems like global warming and poverty by taking approaches that will benefit other countries as well. He has spoken in support of a cap-and-trade system and called on the U.S. to make a serious commitment to reducing greenhouse gases.
Killing bin Laden
Under McDonough's watch at the NSC, the world's most-wanted terrorist, al-Qaeda leader Osama bin-Laden was killed by U.S. special forces after years of painstaking intelligence work.
As a fellow at the Center for American Progress, McDonough has relationships with Obama transition co-chair and CAP head John Podesta, CAP chief operating officer Neera Tanden and several other prominent Obama backers.
As a former chief of staff for Tom Daschle, McDonough is also a part of the growing list of Daschle alumnae that worked on the 2008 Obama campaign and in the Obama White House. Obama's Senate chief of staff, Pete Rouse, is a a senior White House adviser, and Mark Lippert, also worked for Daschle before becoming NSC chief of staff in the Obama administration.