I had the privilege of working with Denis McDonough years ago on some community and human rights issues, when he was still a top aide to then-Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle. Denis was consistently friendly, helpful, no-nonsense, professional, smart, dedicated, faithful, and accessible. And he delivered, no matter how many other files were flying across his desk (though he'd usually be on his feet).
Denis delivered because he believed in our cause, and more importantly, because his boss did. Denis made sure that key points and deliverables were included in the trade measures moving through the Senate Finance Committee, where Senator Daschle also sat as a member. He also made sure that -- when the Senator was speaking before a high-profile gathering of community leaders -- he emphasized the concerns of vulnerable Jews overseas. That kind of plug from such a prominent politician made a much greater impact and boosted our cause as the communal priority it deserved to be.
Denis was always available to help, to sound out new ideas, and to keep us posted on what was coming down the pike. Since he's moved into the White House, I've only seen him speeding around a staircase landing, probably trying to cover three meetings and a hands-on President -- all AFTER "close of business".
I really am proud, but not of Denis -- just proud of myself, that I have had an opportunity to deal with him directly, and that I live in a country where our government is being managed by people like Denis McDonough, President Obama's newly designated Chief of Staff.