WASHINGTON (AP) — John Podesta, a former chief of staff to President Bill Clinton and a trusted Democratic operative, will join the White House staff as a senior counselor to President Barack Obama, two persons familiar with the move said late Monday.
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.
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) - George Zimmerman is asking a judge to change the terms of his bond so he can have contact with the girlfriend he's accused of assaulting.
Zimmerman on Monday filed an affidavit from his girlfriend that says she doesn't want him charged with aggravated assault, battery and criminal mischief.
In the signed affidavit, Samantha Scheibe says she hasn't been coerced into the request. She says detectives misinterpreted what she said. In the affidavit, she calls Zimmerman "my boyfriend."
Zimmerman was arrested last month after Scheibe accused him in a call to 911 of pointing a gun at her, smashing a coffee table and pushing her outside.
Prosecutors could continue with the case despite Scheibe's request.
Zimmerman was acquitted of any crime last summer in the shooting death of teen Trayvon Martin.
PRINCETON, N.J. (AP) - Princeton University says more than 1,200 people were vaccinated midway through the first day of a mass vaccination against type B meningitis.
The Ivy League school in New Jersey is looking to vaccinate nearly 6,000 students and some employees.
Seven students and one prospective student who was visiting campus have been stricken by potentially life-threatening type B meningococcal disease since March. None of the cases has been fatal.
With the approval and recommendation of federal agencies, the university is using a vaccine that is not yet approved for general use in the United States.
Students and some workers are being offered a first dose Monday through Thursday. A second dose is to be given in February.