Share This Page

Obama to lean on Washington vet as White House counsel

| Monday, April 21, 2014, 8:21 p.m.

WASHINGTON — President Obama is turning to Neil Eggleston, a veteran of the Whitewater and Iran-Contra confrontations between Capitol Hill and the White House, to help guide his administration through what could be stormy years ahead with Congress.

Obama on Monday named Eggleston, a Washington lawyer who specializes in representing high-profile public figures in government investigations, as the next White House counsel. He replaces Kathryn Ruemmler, who has been seeking to vacate the White House hot seat for months.

If Republicans take control of the Senate and keep the House in November elections, Eggleston's past experiences as associate White House counsel for President Bill Clinton during the Whitewater congressional hearings and deputy chief counsel of the House Iran-Contra Committee could put him on solid ground.

Another key task for the White House lawyer is drawing up a list of potential nominees to fill the Supreme Court seat held by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

There is speculation that Ginsburg, who is 81, will retire next year.

Eggleston will likely face pressure from Latinos, a key constituency for Obama, to change federal rules to make deportations less frequent. Immigration advocates say Obama has not done enough to focus deportations solely on immigrants convicted of serious crimes.

When Ruemmler became White House counsel three years ago, just the third woman to hold that job, she was 40 and relatively unknown despite having served as a top prosecutor in the Justice Department.

She dealt head-on with long-standing criticism of the administration's poor record in getting judges confirmed to the federal bench by pushing for a change to Senate rules that allowed confirmation of judges and most other appointees with a simple majority instead of a filibuster-proof 60 votes.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.