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The Most Powerful Person in D.C. You Don’t Know: Denis McDonough

. . .But the second/fifth most powerful person in D.C., according to White House staffers, has nothing to do with the most significant domestic policy legislation in a generation. It’s Denis McDonough, National Security Council Chief of Staff and former senior foreign policy advisor to Obama-the-candidate. “There’s no one President trusts more,” says one staffer, while another points out, “He’s a huge advisor to everyone around here.” Explains a third: “There are certain guys around here who will just give you the answer fast, without run-around—Denis is one of those.” Staff lauded his ability to explain complex ideas and to argue confidently. And, what’s more, “He’s stayed under the radar, intentionally.” His signature achievement: The calm, thorough guidance he offered the President in deciding Afghanistan policy. “The Vice-President played a big role,” they caution, “but Denis was there, too.”


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