The Unfaithful Departed: Meet The People Who Bailed On The Obama Administration

Tyler Durden's picture

Friday's latest resignation of yet another former Obama administration faithful - that of White House press secretary Jay Carney - got us thinking: how many people have jumped off the USS Obamic? The answer is, in short, a lot.

Below is a list (by no means complete) of the most prominent officials and advisors who have quietly exited the Obama administration stage left over the past 6 years.

Jay Carney

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney is leaving his post. President Obama announced Carney’s departure in a surprise appearance at in the White House press briefing room May 30, 2014. He said principal deputy press secretary Josh Earnest will take over the job.

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Eric K. Shinseki

Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric K. Shinseki gives the keynote address at the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans Annual Conference in Washington. Shinseki addressed what he called the "elephant in the room," saying he was too trusting of some and calling breaches of integrity "indefensible and unacceptable." Shinseki met with President Obama and resigned a short time later on May 30, 2014.

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Kathleen Sebelius

Kathleen Sebelius resigned as secretary of Health and Human Services in April 2014 after numerous problems with the rollout of the Affordable Care Act

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Keith B. Alexander

Keith Alexander has been the direct of the NSA since August 2005. Following the Edward Snowden whistleblowing scandal, Alexander announced in October 2013 that he would leave the NSA.

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Lois Lerner

Lois Lerner ran the IRS's section on tax-exempt organizations until her resignation in September 2013, following a scandal exposing the targeting of tea-party groups for IRS scrutiny.

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Ray LaHood

Ray LaHood was secretary of transportation from 2009 until July 2013. He was strong proponent of high-speed rail, saying "This is what the American people want. If you build it, they will come." Perhaps best known for saying ""America is one big pothole right now", he did not seek any public office after that, and instead entered the private sector.

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Jill Sommers

Jill Sommers was appointed in July 2009 by Obama to serve a five-year second term as Commissioner of the CTFC.  She announced her departure from the CFTC in July 2013, after concluding oversight of the agency’s investigation of MF Global. She now works at the IFM foundation as a consultant.

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Ken Salazar

Ken Salazar was US Secretary of the Interior from 2009 until his resignation in April 2013. On June 10, 2013 he became a partner in the major international law firm of WilmerHale, and was charged with opening a Denver office for the firm

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Lanny Breuer

Lanny Breuer was Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division of the US from April 2009 until March 2013 when he departed following a scandal in which it was revealed that the DOJ is unwilling to prosecute certain financial firms over concerns they are "Too Big To Prosecute."

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Lisa Jackson

Lisa Jackson served as the Administrator of the United States Environmental Protection Agency from January 2009 to February 2013. In May 2013, it was announced that Jackson would be joining Apple, Inc. as their environmental director

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Leon Panetta

Leon Panetta resigned as secretary of defense in February 2013.

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Janet Napolitano

Janet Napolitano resigned as homeland security secretary in July 2013 to become president of the University of California system.

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Hillary Rodham Clinton

Hillary Rodham Clinton resigned as secretary of state in February 2013 after four years in the post.

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Tim Geithner

Tim Geithner was US Treasury Secretary from January 2009 from January 2013, following a stint as head of the NY Fed following his personal admission he had no actual experience as a banker, and after admitting " I've never been a regulator." After his tenure as the worst US Treasury Secretary in history (perhaps only tied with Hank Paulson), Geithner joined Warburg Pincus as president and managing director in March 2014. He also wrote a book which briefly sold a lot of copies in the fiction section on Amazon.com

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Mary Schapiro

Mary Schapiro was Chairman of the SEC from January 2009 until December 2012 when she left following zero banker prosecutions as a result of the great financial crisis/robbery, and after formalizing the rigging of the capital markets by the HFT lobby. In April 2013, Schapiro joined Promontory Financial Group as a managing director and chairwoman of its governance and markets practice.

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David Petraeus

David Petraeus was Director of the CIA from September 2011 until his resignation in November 2012, when he resignedciting his extramarital affair which was reportedly discovered in the course of an FBI investigation

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William Daley

President Obama announced Jan. 9, 2012, that Chief of Staff William Daley will step down. Obama named Budget Director Jack Lew as Daley's replacement.

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Dennis Ross

President Obama's key Middle East adviser, Dennis Ross, said he would resign after a period of turmoil in the Arab world and a difficult period in U.S. relations with Israel. Ross, a veteran U.S. peace negotiator, said in a statement that he had made a promise to his wife to return to private life after two years in the administration and had outstayed that promise by a year. He added that he was returning to private life with “mixed feelings.”

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Reggie Love

Reggie Love, a key member of the Obama entourage and onetime forward for the Duke Blue Devils basketball team, left the White House at the end of 2011. Love started out as a staff assistant in Obama’s Senate office after college, rising to become his personal assistant, known as the “body man.”

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Melody Barnes

White House Domestic Policy Council Director Melody Barnes, one of a handful of high-profile women in the White House, will leave her post as President Obama’s domestic policy adviser at the end of 2011, two senior administration officials confirmed.

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Jen Psaki

Former White House deputy communications director Jen Psaki announced her departure from the administration in September 2011 to take on a senior role at Global Strategy Group, a well-known Democratic communications and research firm.

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Vivek Kundra

Vivek Kundra, the federal government's first chief information officer, left his position in August 2011 for a fellowship with Harvard University.

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Michael Leiter


After five years as the director of the National Counterterrorism Center, Michael Leiter plans to resign because he thinks he has spent enough time in the position. President Obama praised Leiter, calling him "a trusted adviser to me and the entire national security team."

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Austan Goolsbee

White House Council of Economic Advisers Chairman Austan Goolsbee plans to resign and return to academia, the White House said June 6, 2011.

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Bob Bauer

Counsel to the President Bob Bauer meets in the Oval Office with President Obama and other senior advisers. Bauer, a longtime Obama adviser, will return to private practice but will continue to advise Obama as a personal lawyer and offer legal counsel to Obama's reelection campaign and the Democratic National Committee.

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Bill Burton

White House deputy press secretary Bill Burton and White House political adviser Sean Sweeney (not pictured) are leaving the administration to form their own political and strategic consulting firm. They announced their plans on Feb. 16, 2011. Burton has been mentioned as a potential candidate in the race to replace Rep. Chris Lee (R-N.Y.).

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Ron Klain

Ron Klain, the chief of staff to Vice President Joe Biden, is leaving the White House to become president of Case Holdings, the holding company for the business and philanthropic interests of former AOL chairman Steve Case. Klain also served as chief of staff Al Gore and was portrayed by Kevin Spacey in the HBO film "Recount," about the 2000 presidential election.

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Glenn Fine

Justice Department Inspector General Glenn Fine left after a decade in the post. First appointed by President Clinton, Fine became a prominent figure during his office's investigation of Bush administration scandals.

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Gen. James L. Jones

It was revealed the morning of Oct. 8, 2010, that National Security Advisor Gen. James L. Jones was resigning and being replaced by his deputy, Thomas Donilon. A recent book exposed tension between Jones and President Obama over war strategy.

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Rahm Emanuel

Rahm Emanuel was the White House Chief of Staff from January 2009 until October 2010. Following his depature, Emanuel became mayor of Chicago.

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Lawrence H. Summers

Lawrence H. Summers, will step down as director of the National Economic Council after the November elections and return to a teaching post at Harvard University, the White House announced Sept. 21, 2010.

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Peter R. Orszag

Peter Orszag was the Director of the Office of Management and Budget from January 2009 until July 2010. He is currently Vice Chairman of Corporate and Investment Banking, Chairman of the Public Sector Group, and Chairman of the Financial Strategy and Solutions Group at Citigroup.

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Christina Romer

Council of Economic Advisers Chair Christina Romer resigned to return to academia. President Obama said in a statement that Romer's decision was guided by "family commitments." She has long signaled that her time in Washington would be temporary.

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Gen. David McKiernan  

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, left, decided to replace former Army Gen. David McKiernan less than a year after he took over the war effort in Afghanistan. McKiernan was criticized as too cautious and conventionally minded.

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Ellen Moran

Ellen Moran left her post as communications director to become the chief of staff at the Commerce Department, becoming the first of Obama's top advisers to depart.

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Gregory B. Craig

Gregory B. Craig was fired as White House counsel after months of tumult over the administration's inability to close the military detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

h/t WaPo, @Stalingrad_Poor