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Friday, January 30, 2009

WHITE HOUSE STAFF

DuBois, 26, to Head Faith Office

President Obama has named Joshua DuBois, the 26-year-old who ran religious outreach for his presidential campaign, to head the White House's new office of faith-based programs, a White House aide said Thursday.

DuBois, who has worked as an associate pastor for a small Pentecostal church in Massachusetts and received a master's degree in public affairs from Princeton University, was widely expected to get the position and is considered close to the president, for whom he also worked in the Senate.

DuBois's appointment to run the White House Office of Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships -- first reported by the New York Times -- is the first sign of a new direction for the office, which partners with faith groups on social service issues and helps advise them on applying for federal funding.

Obama aides have said the president's effort will expand the faith-based office at the White House. President George W. Bush's Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives made a priority of placing faith offices within federal agencies and was criticized by some former high-ranking staff members for becoming politicized.

DuBois is a familiar face to faith activists. He "is a very close confidant and adviser to President Obama, so this demonstrates the president is very committed to working with faith groups and organizations in this country," said Burns Strider, who ran religious outreach for Hillary Rodham Clinton's presidential campaign and now does faith-based political consulting. "He's put a trusted adviser to run it so it can hit the ground running."

The faith-based office will remain, as it did under Bush, within the Domestic Policy Council. There will also be a faith outreach staffer in the Office of Public Liaison.

DuBois, who was raised in Nashville, also worked for Rep. Rush D. Holt (D-N.J.).

-- Michelle Boorstein and Michael D. Shear

JUSTICE DEPARTMENT

Hearing Set for Deputy Nominee

The Senate Judiciary Committee has scheduled a hearing Feb. 5 on the nomination of David W. Odgen to serve as the Justice Department's second in command.

Ogden, a partner at the WilmerHale law firm in Washington, had previously led the department's Civil Division and managed the office of then-Attorney General Janet Reno as her chief of staff. The deputy attorney general post for which Ogden has been nominated is among the most critical but little-noticed in the 110,000-person department. If confirmed by the Senate, Ogden essentially will act as the Justice Department's chief operating officer and regularly will be called upon to resolve conflicts between divisions and U.S. attorneys over corporate prosecutions and other high-profile cases.

-- Carrie Johnson

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