September 30th, 2010
04:31 PM ET

How important are the people around the president?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

All the president's men are headed for the exits... or at least a lot of them are.

White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel is leaving his job in the West Wing on Friday to maybe run for mayor of Chicago, Illinois.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/09/30/art.rahm.jpg caption="White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel."]
And Emanuel isn't the only member of President Obama's inner-circle, also known as the Chicago Mafia, who's leaving or has left the administration.

Senior adviser David Axelrod plans to return to Chicago after the midterm elections to start working on the president's re-election campaign.

The president's economic team is also pretty much history. Larry Summers, the head of the National Economic Council, is going back to Harvard. Peter Orszag, the budget director, and Christina Romer, head of the council of economic advisers, have both left.

Over at the Defense Department, Secretary Robert Gates - who also served under George Bush - has suggested he plans to step down before President Obama's first term is over.

Of course, working for any administration is tough business. The hours are long, the pressure is intense, and it's not unusual to see lots of turnover in these jobs.

In President Obama's case, his approval numbers are sinking and his party faces an uphill battle in the midterm elections, but he now has a chance to bring in some new blood.

The replacement selections could be critical. Depending on whom he picks, President Obama might be able to deflect criticism that his administration is insular and out of touch. Or not.

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Layne in Illinois writes:
Jack, Pretty darned important if he's planning on making any correct decisions in the near future. If he keeps surrounding himself with political hacks and the economic "geniuses" he chose to start with, he'll be toast (or lame-duck) for his remaining time.

Danny in Tennessee writes:
I think what we see here is the classic case of rats deserting a sinking ship. Who Obama replaces them with is really irrelevant at this point. The Democrats have had 4 years to change the course of America and all they have succeeded at is driving the bus over the edge of a cliff. They can try and blame it on who ever they want to but the fact is they controlled Congress for 4 years. America is not willing to give them another 4.

Eric writes:
You are always judged by the company you keep.

Rahn in Minnesota writes:
The people around the president are the "filters" that decide who the president sees, what the president sees, when it is seen, and for how long it is seen. If that doesn't explain the importance of these people, then I don't know what will.

Beth writes:
They can make or break a presidency. Just ask Jimmy Carter. Those bunch of idiots cost him a second term.

Annie in Atlanta writes:
The president's numbers are sinking, in part, because of liberals like me who are offended by people like Emanuel disparaging the president's base, and Rubinites like Summers and Geithner, who may have had a hand in enriching their Wall Street buddies, at our expense. The people surrounding the President have to be in touch with the mood of the country. That means us poor slobs who are obviously good for nothing but eating cake and voting every couple of years.

Edwin writes:
It is really important! Remember the presidency is an institution, not a man, and having the proper team makes the difference.

Paul in Hawaii writes:
Jack, The S.S. Team Obama was struck by an iceberg named "TEA PARTY", and the rats aren't sticking around waiting for the lifeboats to drop.

Filed under: President Barack Obama
soundoff (139 Responses)
  1. Tom in Desoto, Tx

    The people around the president are far more important than those that CEO's gather around them. There is so much more at stake with the diversity of a nations needs over that of a corporation. A company is in business to make money 100% of the time. A government's goals should be more altruistic, few go into government for the money, the power yes, not the money.

    September 30, 2010 at 1:47 pm |
  2. Jef P.

    A man I admired and respected once told me, "You are only as good as the people you surround yourself with." The President needs to start cleaning house or in a couple of years he will find himself back in Chicago and the White House will only be a memory!

    Jef P.
    Bossier City, LA

    September 30, 2010 at 1:53 pm |
  3. Joe R - Houston

    They make wonderful scapegoats.

    September 30, 2010 at 1:53 pm |
  4. Dave

    Very important. A single Karl Rove can destroy a country.

    September 30, 2010 at 1:54 pm |
  5. Rick McDaniel

    They are important to him, of course. To me, they don't matter much, unless they provide good guidance......and at this point, I would venture they didn't provide good guidance, or they got vetoed, one or the other.

    September 30, 2010 at 2:02 pm |
  6. Overby from Melbourne

    Well, it's pretty important to have the right people. Right now Obama has Emmanuel who is foul-mouthed and cocky, and he has Axelrod that says 'uh' maybe 15-20 times per sentence and you forget what he was talking about, and it's not surprising how far down in the polls Obama is. He'll probably get that buffoon, Colbert, to take Emmanuel's place and he'll be all set.

    September 30, 2010 at 2:08 pm |
  7. southerncousin

    He and they live in a bubble, protected from real American thought. They only get to see the syncophants or the union bosses (at least in this presidents case), so they have no idea of what is really happening.
    The president really needs to get out and listen to real people, but he is arrogant and this will not happen, he can't take time off his vacations or blaming Bush and Fox News to listen to what people are really thinking.

    September 30, 2010 at 2:14 pm |
  8. Brian, Baton Rouge

    Since he seems kind of indecisive and unwilling to fight for what he believes in, it's important to have people around him who can strengthen his resolve and counter his natural inclination to surrender to the Republicans.

    September 30, 2010 at 2:18 pm |
  9. Eugene Myers Flat, CA

    Jack, they're always important except when a president surrounds himself with naive yes men and women, who's main concern is the transfer of wealth in America.

    September 30, 2010 at 2:19 pm |
  10. Matt Hanooti

    the pepole around Obama are very professional and capable for making tough decisons, however, they do not represent the diversity of our nation, especially American Muslims.

    September 30, 2010 at 2:21 pm |
  11. Pete from Georgia

    Depends on the president.
    With Obama, who knows EVERYTHING (just ask him).......it makes little difference since they are all "yes people". He's gonna do what he's gonna do.
    With a decent level headed president, one who understands team work and sharing ideas and philosophies, it's very important who they are.

    September 30, 2010 at 2:26 pm |
  12. John from Alabama

    JJack: They are very important, but the buck stops at the president's desk. I believe President Obama choice well, but every 18 to 24 months in most presidential administrations there are changes in key personnel. I believe his choice should be qualified people who have the same vision President Obama has for this nation. The " how" and "why" are very important in a vision for America, and different people might have the same vision, but choose a diferent path to the vision.

    September 30, 2010 at 2:30 pm |
  13. Tom, Avon, Me, The Heart of Democracy

    The only "Brownies" on Obama's team so far have been Louis Caldera, who approved the fly over of Manhattan that caused panic and evacuation of the high rises, and Ken Salazar who seems to screw up everything he touches. Where would British Petroleum be without him?

    September 30, 2010 at 2:31 pm |
  14. pat in michigan

    You are only as good as the people who work for you.!The President is only effective if the people who work for him give him accurate information and the follow his directives .
    If a person has lost his focus he is of no use in the White House.

    September 30, 2010 at 2:32 pm |
  15. B.J., Quincy, Il

    Think about it! They are the ones who have the presidents ear. He listens to them. Letters, petitions, emails, are all toned out. You have done it , I have done it, He has and does it, but if an advisor or a friend says "look at this, that sounds good, he's going to listen.
    Wouldn't you?

    September 30, 2010 at 2:35 pm |
  16. bob z fr ,pa.

    if you know what kind of people he has and you love our country you do not want that kind of people unless you want to be like russia

    September 30, 2010 at 2:35 pm |
  17. Jack - Lancaster, Ohio


    The people "around" the President are absolutely, critically self-important, just ask themselves !

    September 30, 2010 at 2:49 pm |
  18. Eric Platt

    You are always judged by the company you keep.

    September 30, 2010 at 2:51 pm |
  19. Beth Bryant

    They can make or break a presidency. Just ask Jimmy Carter. Those bunch of idiots cost him a second term.

    September 30, 2010 at 2:52 pm |
  20. Rassmussen

    Very Important.

    Because these are the people who have the President's ear.

    Take for example, the scoundrel Colin Powell– a war criminal– whom Obama regards as a senior statesman!

    Colin Powell led this country to this war by lying with his fake cartoons.

    This ill-begotten war is draining this country in human loss and financial loss of $30 Billion per day.

    Apparently, Colin Powell goes in and out of the white-house to give advice to the President!

    People like Colin Powell surrounding the Prsident does not bode well for this country.

    September 30, 2010 at 2:57 pm |
  21. Anthony from NJ

    In Reagan's case, it was Nancy and her horoscope that steered the ship of state. As far as George W. was concerned, uncle Cheney was his navigator and Rove his henchman.
    This president shows no signs of undue outside pressure. Perhaps that's his problem with perception. He wears his heart on his sleeve and keeps his advisers at arm's length. His intentions are good but his political savvy is wanting. He needs a strong ally who can weather the rough seas or his tenure will be short.

    September 30, 2010 at 3:00 pm |
  22. Russ in PA

    As important as two peas in a pod.

    September 30, 2010 at 3:04 pm |
  23. Bizz Quarryville Pennsylvania

    I think they're very important. I think if President Bush would've had good advisers around him instead of yes men we would have never invaded Iraq and finished off the enemy in Afghanistan. The only person that presented the whole picture of what could take place if Bush went ahead with the Iraq invasion was Colin Powell. Powell ended up being forced out. When you have a cabinet and advisers that can offer different solutions to a problem. You have a better chance of making the right decision.

    September 30, 2010 at 3:13 pm |
  24. tom trapani quito ecuador

    Extremely, when you compare the intelligence of Obama vs Bush after reading Bob Woodward's book Obama's wars you see clearly how Obama's intelligence, inquisitve mind and selection of competent staffers helped him avoid the traps the pentagon set for him in his struggle to get a handle on the Afganistan Palistan situation.

    September 30, 2010 at 3:17 pm |
  25. Peggy From Colorado

    History is the best teacher, we have seen presidents surrounded by highchairs and others by thrones...the importance of those who occupy those seats can be measured by how history reflects the success of the presidency they are associated with and how that success is interpreted by those among us who claim to be political interpreters......

    September 30, 2010 at 3:22 pm |
  26. Tommy from Santa Monica

    They are very important and in most cases, make some of the big decisions. The President is just the front man. That's why this President has failed and has polarized the USA, because he appointed people and friends who are just as inexperienced as he is.

    September 30, 2010 at 3:23 pm |
  27. Wilhelm von Nord Bach

    it is VERY important, Jack.

    as we have seen in the first two years of the Obama administration, BAD staffing decisions like selecting Wall Street Weasel "Free Traders" like Tim Geithner and Larry Summers, who both see NO problem letting Communist China run over the trade game AND continue to allow the "Too Big to Jail" bankers to conduct "business as usual", has exacerbated the unemployment problem to the point where people are ready to turn over the government to a bunch of ultra-right wing Tea Party Republican radicals.

    and THAT would be a DISASTER for middle class America and especially seniors.

    September 30, 2010 at 3:26 pm |
  28. Dee in New Paris Ohio

    Important to whom? The President? Me? The Americe People?

    Probably, to all those options, very important. I am sure that many of the decisions made by ANY president are based in part on the opinions and insights of those surrounding the president.

    Most important is who is 'pulling the strings'. If it is the president himsekf (or hopefully one day, herself) that would mean that we may be getting exactly what we elected him to do. However if the strings are being pulled by some manipulator in the background, then we are getting a shadow leader, and it means the president is NOT really our leader, and so who he is surrounder by means everything.

    September 30, 2010 at 3:26 pm |
  29. Joe CE

    They are imortant especially if a President allows himself to be isoslated, Unforunately, this President appears to fall in that catagory.

    September 30, 2010 at 3:32 pm |
  30. Jim S in Alabama

    How important are assistant coaches to a head coach, Jack? No one man can possibly be smart enough and well versed enough in all the areas of national interest by himself, and so I think his advisors are critical to any administration, including Obama's. In fact, I think their expertise and political "savy" is critical to making him look good or bad. Obama could use some brighter assistants.

    September 30, 2010 at 3:32 pm |

    tampa, fl rats deserting a sinking ship, like we haven't seen this one before.

    September 30, 2010 at 3:38 pm |
  32. Ed from California

    It's very important to have good and smart people advising the president. On the other hand I voted for then Senator Obama for president and Senator Biden as V.P. and not his staff. pres. Obama is doing a great job considering of what he was left with.

    September 30, 2010 at 3:40 pm |
  33. Don (NH)

    The people around the President are not all that important. They can be replaced. However, the fact that they are leaving is important. They either see the writing on the wall that all that they worked on may come crashing down if the house and senate changes hands, or they want to secure good jobs on the outside while they still can.

    September 30, 2010 at 3:44 pm |
  34. Susan from Idaho

    More important than the president. No man is an island.

    September 30, 2010 at 3:48 pm |
  35. EE Wiese

    The Presidents advisers are very important for the right information and for people he can trust and to whom he can delegate. Gene

    September 30, 2010 at 3:48 pm |
  36. Wm, Penna

    The ONLY people with any political influence are the very few, very wealthy, Americans who buy and sell the politicians. Politicians are only a commodity for our very rich with the interest and greed to own them. They can be useful in keeping your corporate welfare payments and further deregulation of the corporate-person status.
    The rich use the best propagandists who use the most powerful tools to shape our beliefs. So the rich and their advertisers are the most important.

    September 30, 2010 at 3:50 pm |
  37. EE Wiese

    I hope and pray that the Democrats win and maintain control of both the House and the Senate. Gene

    September 30, 2010 at 3:54 pm |
  38. Olga

    Let's consider this: the ones that are leaving were useless and now they are a welcomed history.

    Now President Obama can make better choices, scrutinizing for people that are intelligent, creative, committed and supportive to the President.

    Our President needs to be told, not what he might want to hear, but what he has to hear.

    Austin, Tx

    September 30, 2010 at 3:57 pm |
  39. Mark

    You are what the company you keep...something like that anyway. He has his Socialist friends of which only 8% ever held a real job outside of teaching or government. No business experience in his administration, just a lot of socialized medicine..no pun intended.

    September 30, 2010 at 3:58 pm |
  40. Jerry Driskell

    Who knows? If the president can function without food and water, he should be able to function without the "Chicago Mafia". But, maybe he won't need to find out; maybe there "is" new blood waiting to tell him how to run the country.

    September 30, 2010 at 3:59 pm |
  41. Robert

    Extremely important, since their primary responsibility is to "speak truth to power." When they don't, or the President doesn't listen, that's when we get into trouble.

    September 30, 2010 at 4:00 pm |
  42. AB

    Jack, the people who are around President Obama and support him are extremely important to the success of his administration. You made the valid point that the cabinet and staff turnover in the Obama administration is normal and occurs in every administration during the first half of a presidential term. These people were the best people who stuck with and helped President Obama win the presidency. most of these people will still support Obama's administration and re-election bid. They are loyal, ethical and had Obama's back all along. He will find other people who will be just as loyal and dedicated to public service.

    September 30, 2010 at 4:01 pm |
  43. Meg from Troy

    Obviously a president's advisors are very important, so replacing these people is also very important. I hope that he chooses wisely because he could use some fresh ideas and some seasoned advice on governing more effectively.

    September 30, 2010 at 4:06 pm |
  44. Mark

    Anything dumber than a Republican? Yes, a Democrat who supports Obama, our first foreign born, arrogant, affirmative action President.
    I read these posts and there are a lot of dumb Americans here. First of all, your Democrat friends had control of Congress the last two years of Bush's presidency, so blame Bush for the first 6 years, not the last two. Second, we had a chance getting Osama when Clinton was President, Sudan was going to hand him over, what's with that?
    Third, you're Messiah has run up the national debt faster and larger than Bush, what's with that?
    You Americans are pathetic. Stand up on your own two feet and quit whining for help. Your grandparents would spit in your face the way you're acting. So shameless....

    September 30, 2010 at 4:09 pm |
  45. Ed

    Like in a circus, people around the ringleader are very important. In a puppet show someone pulling the strings is important. I'm not sure this helps you Jack but its a couple things to consider.

    September 30, 2010 at 4:12 pm |
  46. Steve

    Very important..They act as insulation in a lot of cases. The job is so complex that advice and experts are needed every day on a wide range of issues. They are expected to serve and this entails total devotion to their job, often at the expense of any semblance of family or homelife. Its often good timing that allows every president to renew his core group of advisors after 2 years in the job. Don't forget many of them also worked through 2 plus years of a rigorous election campaign. Some fresh blood and fresh perspectives will help your President..

    September 30, 2010 at 4:16 pm |
  47. JENNA

    How important are the people around the president?

    I think presidential advisors and those he surrounds himself with are very important. They can sometimes make or break a presidency. I think that it is a good thing that Rahm Emmanuel is leaving. He was NOT good for Obama.

    Roseville CA

    September 30, 2010 at 4:19 pm |
  48. Ted

    I do not think the president is too worried about who is leaving. I do think he would panic if all his speach writers left,then he would have to talk on his own without all those fancy teleprompters all around him,( that the camera man is not allowed to show). He would also have to look at the people eye to eye instead of his head always going left and right and never looking straight ahead. His speaches is what got him elected,not his I Q.Even Oprah said she loved his speaches. Yes all his staff can go,but it would be panic time if he lost those people who write his speaches.

    September 30, 2010 at 4:21 pm |
  49. Chris Harding

    Personally, I believe the cabinet is extremely important! A cross-functional team is important during any decision process.

    With that said, there is a danger of "good old 'person" network. Like the financial industry, corporate, Harvard, Yale, etc, there are a certain "sub-population" that "fill" those positions. As such, they tend to "scratch" the back of another, cover-up illegal activity, and make inappropriate decisions. The same can be said for a Presidential Cabinet.

    Therefore, we should all be "weary" of any choice. The Supreme Court nominations are an extremely good example of the later. Both sides feel a tremendous need to intensely interview the candidate. Why? They serve for a lifetime unless they are deemed corrupt.

    Important! I am not implying the President's cabinet is corrupt. I am just stating a fact. A "team" is important but a team that thinks alike is dangerous.

    September 30, 2010 at 4:22 pm |
  50. Jim


    All presidents face periodic personnel losses and the need to replace key people. This is hardly news, as much as you might like it to be. Remember Rove? Remember Rumsfeld? The people close to the President are very important. They provide him with advice and knowledge in areas where he is not expert, and serve as experienced sounding boards for policy decisions and legislative proposals.

    Reno, Nevada

    September 30, 2010 at 4:24 pm |
  51. JayDeeT

    No matter how skilled or incompetent the President's "people" can be, the bottom line rests with the President making decisions and conducting policies on his own. Unfortunately, Obama has inconsistent and inexperienced advisors and appears to flounder when making definitive decisions and fighting for his policies. It looks as if he's either been getting some poor advice from his staff or has been insulated from the reality outside of the White House.

    September 30, 2010 at 4:24 pm |
  52. Paul Austin,Texas

    Jack they are only important if they want to be there. If other things or chances are on their minds then they are of no use to the president or any of us.

    September 30, 2010 at 4:25 pm |
  53. MNResident

    The people around the predident are the "filters" that decide who the president sees, what the president sees, when it is seen, and for how long it is seen. If that doesn't explain the importance of these people, then I don't know what will.....

    September 30, 2010 at 4:26 pm |
  54. Mr. D

    More important than the president, and they haven't been elected. Scary!

    September 30, 2010 at 4:28 pm |
  55. Danny Bucksnort Tn.

    A good administration can make or break a president. Of course it also helps if the president is a little more then talk. I think what we see here is the classic case of rats deserting a sinking ship. Who Obama replaces them with is really irrelevant at this point. The democrats have had 4 years to change the course of America and all they have succeeded at is driving the bus over the edge of a cliff. They can try and blame it on who ever they want to but the fact is they controlled congress for 4 years. America is not willing to give them another 4.

    September 30, 2010 at 4:34 pm |
  56. Andy Lynn, MA

    Hard to tell. Does this President listen to any of them? He seems to have his own agenda and only listens to those that agree with him. So what do you really have around the Preident? Yes man and those that have not been converted into yes men. The other category is comprised of thoe leaving the President.

    September 30, 2010 at 4:34 pm |
  57. Jon

    A man is know by the company he keeps. The Presiden, especially, chooses people who he believes support his vision and goals. You can tell just about everything you need to know about him by the people around him.


    Lima, Ohio

    September 30, 2010 at 4:36 pm |
  58. Allen in Hartwell GA

    Jack, naturally the people around and advising the president are important. In President Obama's case getting new blood might be good for his administration if they aren't from Chicago – there could be no more whining about the Chicago mafia or "Chicago politics".
    In President G.W. Bush's case the people around him was one reason he enjoyed support for as long as he did. We knew most of his advisers and thought they wouldn't let him do any harm. Boy were we wrong!!!

    September 30, 2010 at 4:38 pm |
  59. Lance, Ridgecrest, Ca

    Jack, the past 2 years have proven that the people around the President are running the programs. The President is a clueless, mouthpiece for the progressive staff, Pelosi, and Reid. His soul job is to sell the political policies of the ultra left progressives to the American public by smiling, and demonizing anyone who doesn't agree with his staff's view of the future. So, with that in mind, the incoming staff will certainly tell us whether the President has realized where he stands in relation to the voters views for the future. If the new staff is more centerists, less progressive, the next 2 years could see some actual progress made toward fiscal responsibility.

    September 30, 2010 at 4:39 pm |
  60. Peg from N.Y.

    Extremely important. He had best put alot of thought and care into his replacements. It affects us all.

    September 30, 2010 at 4:40 pm |
  61. Layne Alleman

    Jack, Pretty darned important if he's planing on making any correct decisions in the near future.If he keeps surrounding himself with political hacks and the economic "geniuses" he chose to start with, he'll be toast(or lame-duck) for his remaining time. Layne A. Antioch, Il.

    September 30, 2010 at 4:46 pm |
  62. Lori - PA


    Very important. When McCain chose Sarah Palin as his Vice Presidential candidate, look what happened. Every time Joe Biden makes a blunder, it’s a top story in the evening news. Obama should look to hire people that are competent, respected, and well liked by the public. Oh, and who aren’t afraid to disagree with him.

    September 30, 2010 at 4:47 pm |
  63. stormerF/Alabama

    Some people are important to have around ,but when you surround yourself with friends and yes men you look foolish in the decisions you make. Thank god Truman had good advisors.

    September 30, 2010 at 4:47 pm |
  64. BillfromNewYork

    If the President is a good leader, which I truly believe he is, the people surrounding him are vitally important. A good leader will hire the best people for tho job. Those who are intelligent and have the knowledge and know how the leader may lack in certain areas. President Obama's leadership style exemplifies this. He has surrounded himself with capable people who can get the job done and are not just "yes men" like those in the Bush White House. They support the President but are not afraid to will challenge him when needed. This shows he is a true leader which is what our country needs at this time. That being said, I feel Obama will replace those leaving with people of equal if not greater caliber.

    Bill from New York

    September 30, 2010 at 4:54 pm |
  65. Judie Wm's -- El Lago TX

    They are important to him ONLY if they do not drape a cloak of secrecy around him, and are candid...the other side of the coin is that the President be receptive to input,

    More than one President was in the corral surrounded by the good old boys, and only after their deaths years later were some truths told.

    September 30, 2010 at 4:59 pm |
  66. Adam Simi Valley, CA

    These positions are very important. they have the President's ear and dictate courses of action. If he continues to surround himself with share-the-wealth socialists and in some cases, communists, then you will get a lot of Unamerican ideas. Do you think the stimulus plan was Obama's? Cash for clunkers? Healthcare? Obama had a lot to do with the outcome of those pieces of legislation and he wasn't dreaming up that garbage by himself. This is his chance to change direction and attempt to salvage his legacy with some new direction and better ideas.

    September 30, 2010 at 5:00 pm |
  67. Dennis north Carolina

    The people who surround the president are important so that the office runs smooth.

    September 30, 2010 at 5:01 pm |
  68. tom k, chico,ca.

    Extreamly important Jack,Maybe they will get someone who cares about the citizens and not just Shills for wall street and K street.

    September 30, 2010 at 5:03 pm |
  69. Al

    Nowhere near as important as the President.

    September 30, 2010 at 5:08 pm |
  70. hurricanepaul from Hawaii

    Jack...The S.S. Team Obama was struck by an iceberg named "TEA PARTY", and the rats aren't sticking around waiting for the lifeboats to drop.

    September 30, 2010 at 5:08 pm |
  71. Jarrod

    I'm not sure how important these people will be to the tone of the administration. These guys should be the heavy lifters, hopefully the President will still have a clear vision of what he wants to accomplish.

    September 30, 2010 at 5:11 pm |
  72. Annie, Atlanta

    The President’s numbers are sinking, in part, because of liberals like me who are offended by people like Emmanuel disparaging the President’s base, and Rubinites like Summers and Geithner, who may have had a hand in enriching their Wall Street buddies, at our expense. The people surrounding the President have to be in touch with the mood of the country. That means us poor slobs who are obviously good for nothing but eating cake and voting every couple of years.

    September 30, 2010 at 5:11 pm |
  73. Ralph Spyer

    Obama needs men and women around him who bleed when he is cut. He needs people who are informed ;withabilty to communicate, and willingness to share ideas.

    September 30, 2010 at 5:12 pm |
  74. Matthew Schmitz Oxnard, CA

    They are very important. This is like the scene from Titanic where the owner of the cruise ship gets on a lifeboat to abandon ship. Rahm Emanuel is doing the same.

    September 30, 2010 at 5:12 pm |
  75. Mike Boileau

    Obama needs to re-stock his Advisors with Arabs. especially Arabs of palestinian decent.

    September 30, 2010 at 5:14 pm |
  76. Claire, Melbourne FL

    Very important Jack – hopefully he doesn't have to get his choices approved by the party of "NO". ...they couldn't agree on hot or cold.!

    September 30, 2010 at 5:14 pm |
  77. Edwin Pereyra

    It is really important!!! Remember the presidency is an institution, not a man, and having the proper team makes the difference.

    September 30, 2010 at 5:14 pm |
  78. Nikki

    Jack as my grandma use to "watch the company you keep".

    September 30, 2010 at 5:14 pm |
  79. Frank Cape Coral FL

    the whitehouse staff is as about important as the presidency, NOT MUCH, the government is run by congress, the rest is just color, not needed.

    September 30, 2010 at 5:14 pm |
  80. Joseph Kavanaugh

    The people around the president are more important than the president himself. The people around him assit with major political changes. If ya dont have good people to assist, then this is what we get, a messed up economy....

    Postal Joe, Rock Hill NY

    September 30, 2010 at 5:15 pm |
  81. Barbara Hutchins

    Hey Jack- Since President Obama has chosen to keep his friends close and his enemies closer will he fill those places with more friends or more enemies?? 🙂

    September 30, 2010 at 5:15 pm |
  82. Mitch

    There is no way the president can possibly know about everything about everything. The purpose of having a cabinet is to learn all they can about a subject and inform the president so he can make the right choice. If you don't have a good cabinet, the President could never make good decisions.

    September 30, 2010 at 5:15 pm |
  83. Mark A

    Some Presidents, those with executive management experience in particular, surround themselves with experts – the most effective people that can get the job done. Others, particularly those without any relevant experience, surround themselves with like-minded ideologues. The current Administration's performance has suffered because of the lack of informed leadership, and now they are heading back home with their tails between their legs.

    September 30, 2010 at 5:15 pm |
  84. John - Texas

    They shouldn't be that difficult to replace. Democrat, Republican, they are all interchangeable. they all have writers and the corporate executives are there to guide them.

    September 30, 2010 at 5:15 pm |
  85. Randy

    Extremely. Especially if they secretly work for a foreign government that call themselves our "allies" and are responsible financially and security wise for the mess america finds itself in. Just look at those so-called "advisors" that have been "advising" presidents for the last 100 years.

    September 30, 2010 at 5:15 pm |
  86. Vahe

    I don't think the president is out of touch with what is happening on main street. I do believe that the presidents decisions are made on the advice of people around him, so he should be more careful with his choices this time around.

    September 30, 2010 at 5:16 pm |
  87. Gary H. Boyd

    Strong people keep a President on track - whatever that track might be. The pressures of the presidency have greyed the hair of each and every president in recent memory. Without strong support they'd probably be bald. Conversely, weak people can ruin a presidency just as easily. Emanual's departure, in my view, is a blessing. Chicago needs a guy like him.

    Gary H. Boyd in Scottsdale, Arizona

    September 30, 2010 at 5:16 pm |
  88. G.K.

    New blood will not help unless there is a change in ideology.

    September 30, 2010 at 5:17 pm |
  89. Michael Rogers - Marietta GA

    Every good leader needs to surround himself or herself with excellent support staff. When you are at the top of any organization the quality of those around you determine the success (or lack of) of that organization. The best attribute of any member of the support staff is the willingness to challenge the boss, and then the willingness of the boss to accept the challenge. I'm not impressed wih the overall quality of the staff surrounding the President, but I am confident they are departing because of a lack of impact.

    September 30, 2010 at 5:17 pm |
  90. David OR

    Absolutely vital, think of the President as being the spider at the center of the web, names like Hopkins, Jordan, Regan, Rove, and Rubin, are all part of our history cause they advised Presidents.

    September 30, 2010 at 5:18 pm |
  91. Barb Gilani

    The people around the president are very importat to communicate to all this country what positive steps they are trying to take to improve this great country of ours. How we are correcting all the deficits left after wars, Regan and Bush administrations and it is a slow process that most Americans think should be happening faster as if our government is a fast food restaurant. We need patience and more respect in this country as well as most of all sensibility. –Republicans do not believe in trickle down economics, just padding their own pockets.

    September 30, 2010 at 5:18 pm |
  92. Fred Johnson

    Without a doubt the biggest loss will be Dr Gates. Tough, experienced, pragmatic, and has served 8 Presidents. He has made Secretary Clinton stronger and more useful by reaching out when others in the administration harbored ill will from the primaries. Dr Gates has depolitisized our war efforts.

    September 30, 2010 at 5:18 pm |
  93. Darren Johnson

    Jack, I think the people around the president are about as important as the band that played as the Titanic sank.

    Darren in Fairbanks, Alaska

    September 30, 2010 at 5:19 pm |
  94. John

    If the puppet regime of the previous administration does not prove the importance of those surrounding the President during crucial decision-making processes, then what does?

    Denver, CO

    September 30, 2010 at 5:19 pm |
  95. Darrell

    of couse the people around the president are important. Most of us rely on the people closest to us for their opinion about issues concerning our day 2 day lives and so does the president. Almost to the point that we should have a say so in their appointment! But unfortunatly we dont and instead the pres gets to bring in his old cronies from the country club whos views are similar if not the exact same as his own... DETROIT, MI

    September 30, 2010 at 5:19 pm |
  96. Bob Spads

    Well they are very important to the president Jack, but I could generally give a flip because if they screw up bad enough I vote out their boss. That’s just the way it is in this country. That’s the reality of our system, but I wonder, with regard to defense and international policy, if that reality is not more of a national weakness than a strength.

    September 30, 2010 at 5:20 pm |
  97. Rich Barry

    Hi Jack,
    I wish the President well and want him to succeed and the economy to turn around. We need jobs and renewed confidence in our Government and Leaders. Way too much negative polarity in our Country.
    Between all the talking heads, the internet and twittering and texting information even though it's erroneous travels with light speed and into our confused brains. Oh, Oh, I feel a solar storm coming. My Synapsis's
    are crackling. I'm outta here. Take Care

    September 30, 2010 at 5:20 pm |
  98. Jim Blevins

    Obviously, the people around the president are critical. But that is not the problem - these people are perfectly7 competent. The problem is the republican party and the people that they represent. Half of America refuses to move into the 21st century and has effectively blocked everything the the Administration is trying to do to allow America to prosper in this world. Obama has two choices - get a team that will accept the baby steps as exemplified by the health care bill, or end up with an equally frustrated staff.

    Jim, Craig, CO

    September 30, 2010 at 5:20 pm |
  99. Karl from SF, CA

    The president’s advisers are important, but the number of them isn’t. Look how well George W. Bush did with just two advisers, God and Dick Cheney and not necessarily in that order.

    September 30, 2010 at 5:20 pm |
  100. Richard Carpenter

    It's about time Emanues left, as well as others. As much as I like President Obama, he made some incredibly poor choices in his close circle of advisors. Maybe this time he can do better – personally I don't think it could get worse!

    September 30, 2010 at 5:21 pm |
  101. Remo, from beautiful downtown Pflugerville Texas

    I doubt that he'll reach outside his box of isolation. He hasn't related to my needs so far and I doubt that he has a clue nor does he wish one. He'll chat up some old croney who talks his talk and offer him a job. Well, at least someone out here will get a job offer.....

    September 30, 2010 at 5:22 pm |
  102. John Schilling, Chambersburg, PA

    The most important part of any Presidential Administration is who the President selects as his cabinet and circle of experts. No President can make all the decisions on his own. (Or HER own in the case of Sarah.)

    September 30, 2010 at 5:22 pm |
  103. hank

    The President lives in a bubble. He is clueless about Financial Regulation fixing nothing, He is clueless about the Federal Reserve hiding trillions of losses on their books. He is clueless about Fanny and Freddie being a party to bank bailouts an other corruptions. He is clueless about Wall Street robbing America blind under the guidance of Summers and Geithner and he is clueless about the Afgan war being run by selfish american war mongers for profit and power. That is what the U.S. president is all about!

    September 30, 2010 at 5:23 pm |
  104. charlie NV

    It's very important. Obama needs to move to middle and stay on point with jobs being number one. I am a union electrician and am definitely in favor of the clean energy jobs on line in Nevada. However, i am also a member of the NRA and in favor of Arizona's tough immigration laws. Why do these people have to be so extreme to left or right?

    September 30, 2010 at 5:24 pm |
  105. Vincent

    The people aroung the President is very important because their are his eyes and ears. Please research the topic below
    Under the Affordable Care Act, if your plan covers children, you can now add or keep your children on your health insurance policy until they turn 26 years old. but the military don't have this option for our families. please help us.

    September 30, 2010 at 5:25 pm |
  106. Bob Did -- Morristown, NJ

    The importance of the people surrounding the president depends on the president. For a president like Jimmy Carter who micro managed and made almost all decisions on his own, the people surrounding him were less important. For presidents like George "W", who was manipulated by those surrounding him, providing him with almost a single point of view, and believed all the lies he was fed, they were more important than the president. I believe our current president lies somewhere in between. He seeks input from people with differing points of view, asks tough questions that challenge the validity of the input from all sides, and considers the alternatives carefully, thoughtfully and with his full intellect and study before coming to a considered decision.

    September 30, 2010 at 5:25 pm |
  107. Michael Armstrong Sr. Tx.

    Maybe Obama had plans to fire all these people and instead gave them an easy way out without shame .

    September 30, 2010 at 5:26 pm |
  108. Damon Willis

    The people around the President are crucial to his administration. Without a solid staff ; even the greatest leaders would have difficulty governing a nation. Maybe President Obama can rejuvenate his policy on the economy and get our citizens back to work.

    September 30, 2010 at 5:26 pm |
  109. David P Vernon

    Tucson, AZ – Administrations change staffs because the President is stuck for four years and someone has to take the heat when outcomes are not satisfactory. Every Administration since Washington has been accused by its opposition of being out of touch. The fact is, it is the PUBLIC that does not understand the limits of government, what can and cannot be done regardless of public opinion! The government can NEVER give you what you WANT – it can only, at best, produce a COMPROMISE among all the vested interests, and at worst, produce a deadlock. ALL national capitals have the same problem, in EVERY country – governing take place in a pressure cooker that is not like anywhere else. The White House staff cannot fix a deadlocked Congress, it can only break the law and get a President in trouble. Get real – imperfect government is the BEST that can be done, no matter who is President and who is on his staff.

    September 30, 2010 at 5:26 pm |
  110. Dave in Kansas

    It sure would be nice if he brought in somebody who had real business experience.

    September 30, 2010 at 5:26 pm |
  111. biggeorge22

    It is important if they are truly key advisers. But anyone can be replaced now a days. Except Karl "The Devil" Rove because he really is one of a kind... Thank goodness...

    September 30, 2010 at 5:27 pm |
  112. A.B.

    The President's advisors and staff members are very important. The fact of the administration staff and cabinet turnover is nothing new and is normal in every administration. President Obama will have no problem replacing the good and loyal people who were with him since his campaign for the presidency. His administration needs new blood and fresh, creative "out of the box thinking" on how to restore the nation's economy and end the wars in the middle east.

    September 30, 2010 at 5:28 pm |
  113. Dave in Kansas

    It will be interesting to tally up the results to see how many posters here still have to bring in references to a previous president.
    Funny how an ex-president obviously has more power than the current one.

    September 30, 2010 at 5:29 pm |
  114. Eve Lemon, Texas

    Since they have the president's attention, they are very important and have not served him well. Pres O should fire Geithner, Holder, and others who refuse to hold Wall Street accountable for the financial mess we're in. Eve of Texas

    September 30, 2010 at 5:29 pm |
  115. Bryan Lackkey

    THIS JUST IN~~~~

    Can you say "STATUS QUO?" Jack let's be real, in a country of approximately 300 million, with 250 million being white and that means money, no president and their croonies mean a whole lot. Tt's all about the money.

    September 30, 2010 at 5:29 pm |
  116. Allan Halbert

    Obama likes to be surrounded by those who agree with him. Plus, he has shown that regardless of actual impact or public sentiment, he won't change course on major issues. So unless the administration finds clever ways to take credit for opposing ideas, I wouldn't expect new hires to "fix" his standing with voters any more then if he wore new clothes.

    September 30, 2010 at 5:30 pm |
  117. AndyW

    City: Lockport
    State: Illinois

    People leaving the team at this time is to be expected. Now is the time for current members to get on the campaign trail. Some have other responsibilities to attend to. Some were there longer than anticipated.
    New blood, so to speak, could be good for the Obama White house. Things change during the course of the presidency and it is sometimes necessary to change team members. No One member is or should be indispensable.

    September 30, 2010 at 5:30 pm |
  118. Jerry Z

    With Obamas administration having only 8% of the people in his administration from the business world, all the rest being academics and career politicials, it may be wise for him to get people that know how business really operates so we can finally start creating jobs instead of giving away billions for useless political waste. All past presidents, Republican and Democrat, have had approximately 50% from the business world.

    September 30, 2010 at 5:30 pm |
  119. joshva10

    The President's staff and advisors are very important, and Obama's staff have thus far done him an almost disastrous disservice. Good riddance to both Lawrence Summers, and Rahm Emanuel. President Obama has become almost the Invisible Man under their guidance.

    September 30, 2010 at 5:30 pm |
  120. Paula in Albuquerque

    Ideally speaking, the people around the President are of immense value. With Obama...a supreme egoist, with a permanently-fused "ivory tower", where his brain should be...the minions in his orbit have been selected for their uncanny abilities NEVER to tell Obama what he does not want to know...regardless of the harm that it might cause to the country. He is thin-skinned...emerging from nowhere, and steeped in an "entitled" mindset; set upon the course that he hope will take him, not where the country needs for him to take us...but, where he feels he is "ordained" to go. I have read that Emanuel ran a tight ship, and kept the various, nit-picky, whining factions in the White House...on track, and functioning. He sounds like a "one-man band" of "competence"! With his departure, the White House will function more like the "court" of toadies, reminiscent of Idi Amin...stroking the president's ego, staking-out "territory" form themselves, and thriving on dissension, in the ranks...

    September 30, 2010 at 5:30 pm |
  121. Dawn's Daddy

    Many people do think Obama's staff has created an insular situation. But insular has saved him temporarily from himself. More people believe he is a radical partisan, he's out of touch,. An even larger group whisper, and this whispering is growing, believe Obama is just incompetent who finds it is easy to follow the liberal line because he has no line of his own.

    September 30, 2010 at 5:31 pm |
  122. Pete from Tarrytown

    The President deosn't need "advisors". What he needs are competent people who can present true facts and give coherant arguements about the pro's can con's of a course of action. It's up to the president to decide. Advisors too often have a position and their advise will inevitably be biased to support that position.

    September 30, 2010 at 5:33 pm |
  123. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    These are trusted and loyal people that are around the President and that's something every employer wants from an employee.

    September 30, 2010 at 5:34 pm |
  124. Peter s (TO)

    Jack, those guys are only important if they understand the public needs otherwise sorrounding yourself with yes men! doesn't help.

    September 30, 2010 at 5:34 pm |
  125. Paulette in Dallas,PA

    He beter pick the right team to restore his image and America's faith in him. If his new picks are all wrong,it will all be over but the packing.

    September 30, 2010 at 5:34 pm |
  126. Tom Prebis

    The People with whom the President surrounds himself are of PARAMOUNT importance!!! Especially in our twenty-four hour news cycle nowadays, the day-to-day white house decision makers, the people surrounding the president provide the Ancillary news tidbits that the media just LOVE!

    September 30, 2010 at 5:34 pm |
  127. Mark, Oklahoma City

    Since this President can't pick a dog without an international committee giving a recomendation, I would say the people around the Prez are EXTREMELY important. Didn't Cheney prove that?

    September 30, 2010 at 5:36 pm |
  128. beevee

    It is important to have a critical mass of selfless intellectuals around the president who can work with him and guide him to run the country effectively and on the path to prosperity. We were a sinking ship under the previous administration. Obama leadership is trying to patch the holes and keep us afloat again. This was possible due to the hard work of the people he recruited to work with him closely. Yes, the president is smart but he is not expected to know everything. The people he chose to work with him are critical.

    September 30, 2010 at 5:38 pm |
  129. Sandra Summerville South Carolina

    President Obama is wise and knows that he is only as strong as the weakest link in his team. There is no doubt that his choice of replacements will be better than the staff who leaves. When staff leaves it doesn't mean they are deserting the administration. It probably is to advance their careers while they are so well known.

    President Obama is a brave man. He broke the wall of color to occupy the most powerful job in the world. That alone means he and his family live courageously every minute of every day

    President Obama will lead. He has been and will continue to press Congress for the good of the people. The people must continue to trust and support him. He has to battle the "Party of No" on every issue.

    September 30, 2010 at 5:44 pm |
  130. Jerry Jacksonville, Fl.

    They are very important, the people picked by the President should be the smartest and brightest in their fields, just look at Bush he chose Chaney who happened to be the biggest liar around, he was just what Shrub Bush needed to get us into two wars so their lobbyist buddies could make millions in the defense and energy businesses.

    September 30, 2010 at 5:44 pm |
  131. Ray in Knoxville

    Two words for you, Jack: Dick Cheney!

    September 30, 2010 at 5:44 pm |
  132. KDS Irvine, CA

    No Big deal Jack,
    Members of any administration usually step down for whatever reasons.

    September 30, 2010 at 5:47 pm |
  133. Truth in Texas

    Jack, people who KNOW what is really going on, KNOW that the people around the President are the ones that are leading him in whatever direction and for whatever agenda the group as a whole wants him to go. That's been the case for several decades. We also know that he is chosen by and his campaign is financed by a higher group that is friends with or is closely associated with the same people that he unknowingly surrounds himself with. That being said, if the ship is going down, what would YOU do Jack? Most normal people would make for the door cause the ship is going down with a thud and it's starting to appear that nothing short of a miracle is going to right the ship anymore. The apparent bloodbath that is about to take place in the November elections is written all over the wall. It appears that Obama is going to be left to go down with the ship as a true captain should. Besides, Emanuel is surely going to be GIVEN the office. Everyone knows that Chicago politics is even more corrupt than Washington. Too bad Blago isn't around anymore to guarantee him the job although I'm sure he's already got it.

    September 30, 2010 at 5:47 pm |
  134. Mari, Utah

    Of course the people around the president are important. Wasn't DICK Cheney's chief of Staff sent to jail for outing a CIA agent? Sure, its important to have good people.

    America, next time you wonder about American JOBS, ask a Republican why they voted against a bill that would have penalized Corporations for sending American JOBS overseas!

    Anger is not a solution.

    September 30, 2010 at 5:50 pm |

    No one in the administration has done a good job. That means Obama is making all of the mistakes. I try to be the loyal oposition ,but he has not given me one thing to cheer about. I do not think he listens. The best example is health care. We did not like anything about it and asked him to stop it. King Obama did not listen. We do not work for him. He works for us. He needs to hire people with common sense turn them loose and hope they do a good job. He tried and failed. He came to Washington with an agenda. The American public only wanted small government and JOBS JOBS JOBS. Ken Krieger Cape Coral, Florida

    September 30, 2010 at 5:50 pm |
  136. larry

    Jack , they are important and most have all failed miserably except Gates. I do believe Obama should replace Robert Gibbs with Barney Franks as new press secretary so we can laugh even harder. It will be just like watching Monty Python.

    September 30, 2010 at 5:51 pm |
  137. dan

    no more advisors we NEED more CZARS. after all we dont have enough royalty as O'donnel would say..

    September 30, 2010 at 5:51 pm |
  138. Michael H. in Albuquerque, NM

    He needs people that are able to adapt and deal with the media and his base.

    September 30, 2010 at 5:57 pm |
  139. Roamer

    jack, time for real change. Obama needs to bring in some non-politicos who understand business and economics 101

    September 30, 2010 at 5:59 pm |