NOW with Alex Wagner | January 25, 2013
>> that was president obama naming dennis mcdonough as his new chief of staff and bidding a surprise fond farewell to david plouff, a trusted senior advisor . mcdonough replaces jack lew who is awaiting confirmation for the post of treasury secretary. hans, you are a denison of the white house . a lot of ardor. i didn't see the hearts and rainbows between the men's two heads, but you could feel the love there.
>> when the photographers sfwloom in on their notes afterwards, you see a bunch of hearts.
>> right, with "dm" in the center.
>> they don't really matter. the cabinets don't matter. we get all excited about who the next treasury secretary is iffing to be, who the next transportation secretary. this one matters. denis mcdonough comes from the foreign affairs background. now, his old boss over at the nsc still runs the nsc. now he has a new boss who is denis mcdonough . he will have to deal with the valerie jarrett dynamic, so you could argue -- he has basically been the chief of staff for foreign policy . you could argue there are three different chiefs of staff .
>> the president then tried to sort of characterize denis as he is still a dude from the midwest, he is a stand-up guy, he gets the job done, he has a super-human work ethic. your take on denis mcdonough as a figure in national politics?
>> he is a real loyalist. very intensely loyal to obama to the point where when he was dealing with the president in the first term, there was a lot of conflict because he was a very fiercely loyal, and, you know, as obviously he has done a good job. obama really obviously loves him, which is different. he is a real loyalist. he has a long, interesting ark in american politics . he was the guy. he was senator tom daschle 's chief foreign policy staffer when they were rounding up democrats to vote in favor of the iraq war . something all those guys regret. i think mcdonough spent a lot of his career making up for it.
>> certainly the president has embraced him regardless of that. let's talk about that embrace because during that we both noted there is a certain levity and joy and feeling that the president is in the game and relishing it in a way that we did not see a lot m first term.
>> he could take over the world with the liberal heart.
>> he can be president.
>> standing astride the kwvrn movement and crush it under his boot. that's how conservatives feel about it. that's part of the reason you are seeing despair and a little bit of desperation on the right. yeah, i think obviously the look -- he didn't used to like to do a lot of press avails. now all of a sudden the president can't talk enough. he can't go on enough about how excite he is about his staff. i do think he is feeling good.
>> remember, george w. bush was the same way. he came up and had a little bit more swagger after he was re-elected. i think that's what you get in the first couple of months before you start digging into the muck.
>> given the climate in washington and what he has faced many his first term.
>> he seems to be enjoying this job in a way he hadn't before. he came into a second term thinking that the fever would break in washington . the sort of tea party revolution that had taken over, and in some ways he seems to be right. if you look at what happened with the fiscal cliff, if you look at some of the filibuster reform.
>> debt ceiling.
>> the debt ceiling stuff. it seems like this is a city that he gets -- he is more of an insider in washington than he was four years ago. i will say about the denis mcdonough appointment, it's good to finally see a white guy get a top job. it's really -- they've been shut out.
>> they gave him a chance.
>> thanks god.
>> there's a reason why this was held up. the president jokes about saying it's the best kept secret in washington . we've all known. we've all reported in various ways that he is the choice. what did they do yesterday? they appointed a female to be lady of the s.e.c. it mattered. the scheduling worked to stack this one today zoosh the optics on it.
>> i actually had thought he was already named chief of staff. that's how bad the secret was. we have to take a break, but when