Long-time aide to President Barrack Obama, Pete Rouse, is leaving the White House at year's end. (Saul Loeb / AFP)
President Obama is losing one of his top aides — finally.
Pete Rouse, who has been with Obama since his U.S. Senate days, has often talked about retiring from the White House, but this time it looks like he will leave at year's end.
"It will be a tough loss," Obama himself told The New York Times, acknowledging Rouse's departure plans.
But, the president added, Rouse could continue to get calls from time to time: "It may be a situation where he feels more comfortable with some discreet assignments here and there, and certainly I will continue to rely on him for the good counsel and advice that I really can't get from any other people in this town."
Rouse, 67, played key roles in building Obama's political operation, and staffing his White House.
The Times notes that Rouse's retirement is part of an overall White House revamp heading into a new year:
"Mr. Rouse will lead a small exodus in coming months of other longtime aides, younger yet also exhausted. While Mr. Obama said Mr. Rouse cannot be replaced — "Pete is unique," he said, partly for "his relationship with me" — the White House is trying to fill voids that he and others would leave, and to bring in fresh recruits.
"John D. Podesta, the former Clinton administration chief of staff, is coming for 2014 as a counselor. Phil Schiliro, Mr. Obama's former chief congressional lobbyist, will return, after two years away, to deal with health care issues temporarily."