Podesta will take his place at the White House at a critical time for Obama as his health care law tries to shake itself off from a disastrous enrollment rollout and as the president seeks to re-establish his agenda going into a midterm election year.
Podesta is the founder and former president of the Center for American Progress, a Democratic think tank with close ties to the White House.
The New York Times first reported Podesta's move. The two persons familiar with the development confirmed it to The Associated Press on the condition they weren't named because the announcement was not official.
Podesta, 64, is well respected in political circles both as a strategist and a policy thinker. He would likely step into the role played by Pete Rouse at the White House, who is expected to leave soon after serving as a counselor and, for a time in 2010, as acting chief of staff for Obama.
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