I first met Bill Daley in Democratic ad man Bob Squier's townhouse almost 30 years ago, and we've been friends ever since. We've been through some tough fights together: We were in the motorcade in the same car on election night 2000 when Al Gore had to call George W. Bush and withdraw his concession based on new information about Florida. I can always count on Daley. I have no objectivity on today's story on changing responsibilities in the White House.
But I know this: Bill is doing a good job for Obama and will continue to do so. He was the force behind what will be one of the president's lasting achievements: the new free-trade agreements. And he will be critical as a sounding board and advisor to the president and his consultants as the campaign unfolds. He helped me immeasurably in the Gore campaign, and he will do the same for David Axelrod and David Plouffe.
Bill is also loyal. Whatever he thinks about what is right or wrong about the White House, he'll keep to himself.
Finally, Bill is tough, in a fatalistic but funny, Irish kind of way. He's a Daley, after all. Besides family, faith and friends, there are two things that give him strength: experience and some money in his pocket, earned from several stints in the private sector. He also has something that many people in politics don't today: wisdom.
The White House would be better off with more people like Daley doing more things to help the president, not fewer.