Obama names congressional aide to staff

11/15/2008 WASHINGTON Philip Schiliro has worked in Congress for more than 25 years, many of which were spent as a top aide to longtime Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., and the House Oversight Committee. His official title will be assistant to the president for legislative affairs when the new administration takes over Jan. 20.

The move signals a continuing effort by Obama to ensure he has a smooth relationship with the Democratic-controlled House and Senate. Others on his team also have long ties to Capitol Hill, including Illinois Rep. Rahm Emanuel, the next White House chief of staff.

Obama's team also formally announced that Ron Klain, a former chief of staff to Vice President Al Gore, would serve in the same role for Vice President-elect Joe Biden, and that longtime Obama friend and supporter Valerie Jarrett will be a senior adviser and assistant to Obama for intergovernmental relations.

In the coming days, Obama's transition team plans to announce more senior staff positions. Those announcements could include the likely appointments of campaign senior adviser Robert Gibbs as White House press secretary, chief strategist David Axelrod as a top White House adviser, and Gregory Craig, President Clinton's impeachment trial lawyer, as White House counsel.

Currently, Schiliro is the director of congressional relations for Obama's transition team, and was a senior adviser on the presidential campaign.

Like several other top Obama advisers, Schiliro has ties to Tom Daschle; he served as policy director when the former South Dakota senator was the Senate Democratic leader. He also was the staff director of the Senate Democratic Leadership Committee. In the 1990s, he twice unsuccessfully ran for a congressional seat from New York's Long Island.

Much of Schiliro's career has been spent investigating allegations of wrongdoing under Waxman and the House Oversight Committee.

He has been credited with bringing the issue of steroids in Major League Baseball to Waxman's attention in 2005 after reading Jose Canseco's book, "Juiced," which said he and other players had used performance-enhancing drugs. Congress investigated the allegations and subpoenaed baseball stars, including retired slugger Mark McGwire.

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