Tommy Vietor, who joined Team Obama out of college before the 2004 Democratic National Convention speech that vaulted him onto the national stage, spent years as a deputy press aide before rising to spokesman for the National Security Council.
But his connection to the staff and the president is far more personal. Members of Obama's inner circle said Vietor -- along with Jon Favreau, 31, Obama's lead speechwriter, and Joshua DuBois, 30, who has led religious outreach for the administration -- have been with Obama since the bone-chilling days of the 2008 Iowa caucuses, doing the grunt work that allowed Obama to pull off a stunning upset of favorite Hillary Clinton and set in motion a political machine that would twice claim the presidency.
"It's hard to imagine things without someone like Tommy [Vietor] here," Dan Pfeiffer, whose tenure with Obama dates back to the U.S. Senate office and who recently became a senior White House adviser, told the Los Angeles Times. "It's definitely a turning-of-the-page moment."
It is not unusual for aides to come and go in an administration, the Times said Sunday. The hours are long, the pace grueling. What is unusual, observers said, is how young so many people in Obama's administration are.
It dates back to the 2008 campaign, where David Plouffe, the campaign manager, assembled a team that was thin on experience but young, smart and hungry.
"The deal was, they trusted us with a lot of information," said Favreau. "They figured, 'We have a lot of young kids out there, right out of college, but they're smart, and we're going to trust them with really big jobs.'"