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President Obama Plans Staff Changes Upon Washington Return

Photo Courtesy - Pete Souza/The White House(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama will return from his Hawaiian vacation this week to a government divided. His message to the newly empowered Republican Party? Let’s cooperate.

“I'm willing to work with anyone of either party who's got a good idea and the commitment to see it through,” President Obama said in his weekly media address.

The president is also facing changes in the West Wing, with several key players leaving. Heading out on their own accord are National Economic Council Director Larry Summers – said to be replaced by Gene Sperling at the Treasury Department, or Roger Altman, an investment banker – and Defense Secretary Robert Gates, for whom a replacement has not yet been named.

White House senior adviser David Axelrod is going to begin work on Obama's 2012 reelection campaign, while the mastermind of the 2008 campaign, David Plouffe, will pick up some of Axelrod’s responsibilities.

Former White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel left the administration late last year to run for mayor of Chicago. He was replaced, at least for now, by Pete Rouse.

Analysts say we should expect a shake up to the president’s schedule, as well. Some expect President Obama to spend a lot more time outside the Beltway, trying to better connect with voters in the run up to 2012.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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