White House Counsel resigns; post filled by Obama's personal lawyer

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       In an unexpected career move, Gregory B. Craig, White House Counsel, resigned Thursday to be replaced by leading Democrat and Obama campaign lawyer Robert Bauer.

       The Counsel's office is entrusted with screening administrative and judicial nominees and reviewing sensitive foreign policy issues, ethics matters, and lawsuits on the executive branch. For a long time, however, the Counsel has assumed the unofficial role of private adviser to the president, exerting key influence in a variety of executive decision-making processes, The New York Times said.

       Craig received both praise and criticism during his tenure; he played a prominent role in getting the first Latina justice elected to the U.S. Supreme Court but failed to reach the objective of closing down the U.S. military detention center in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba on schedule, The Washington Post said. 

       Bauer, who is scheduled to begin his appointment in January, is "well-positioned to lead the Counsel's office as it addresses a wide variety of responsibilities," according to a statement issued by President Barack Obama, The Washington Post said.

       In the last 30 years, Bauer has advised many senior officials of the Democratic party and served as chief counsel of the Democratic Congressional committees. Bauer brings extensive knowledge of election law, campaign finance, and political ethics to the position, although he has little expertise in international law, The New York Times said.

       Republicans raised red flags about the administration's lack of balance in giving a high-ranking post to an intimate adviser who has considerable influence, The Washington Post said. 

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