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Big changes in store for Obama's staff

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David Plouffe, Barack Obama's Campaign Manager, delivers remarks during the final day of the Democratic National Convention at Invesco Field at Mile High in Denver on August 28, 2008. (UPI Photo/Kevin Dietsch)
David Plouffe, Barack Obama's Campaign Manager, delivers remarks during the final day of the Democratic National Convention at Invesco Field at Mile High in Denver on August 28, 2008. (UPI Photo/Kevin Dietsch) | License Photo

WASHINGTON, Dec. 15 (UPI) -- U.S. President Barack Obama plans to delay a huge staff shuffle until after Jan. 1, and observers say recently defeated Democrats may be among the new hires.

David Plouffe, Obama's 2008 campaign manager, who will become a senior adviser to the president as early as the first week of January, is considered the most significant addition to Obama's White House staff, people knowledgeable about the situation told Politico in an article published Wednesday.

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Plouffe is expected to tackle the White House's press and messaging operations, the sources said.

"The president has talked to a bunch of different people throughout this process on how to do the reorganization," one official said. "You'll definitely see faces that are new."

Already known departures include David Axelrod, who will leave as a senior White House adviser Feb. 1 to begin to set up the president's reelection campaign. Joining Axelrod will be Jim Messina, one of Obama's deputy chiefs of staff.

White House aides said the only personnel change that "maybe, but unlikely" could come before Jan. 1 is the announcement of a new chairman of the National Economic Council to replace Larry Summers.

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Obama also told senior aides to think about jobs for several defeated congressional members who were close to him and whom he thinks are capable of providing service to the administration, Politico said, namely Reps. Tom Perriello of Virginia, and John Boccieri and Steve Driehaus of Ohio.

The president has reached out to the three, but made no specific commitments, senior administration officials said.

Harder for Obama will be finding appropriate positions for Democrats such as outgoing governors Ted Strickland of Ohio, Jennifer Granholm of Michigan and Jim Doyle of Wisconsin, officials say.

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