Factbox: Podesta returning to White House to advise Obama

(Reuters) - President Barack Obama tapped John Podesta, a former chief of staff for President Bill Clinton, to advise the White House on issues related to energy and climate change, the White House said on Tuesday.

Here are some facts about Podesta.

John D. Podesta, 64, is chairman of the Center for American Progress, a left-leaning think tank he founded in 2003 that has close ties to the Obama administration. He aimed to form a dynamic policy group to be a progressive alternative to the conservative think tanks that had dominated U.S. political thought for decades. Conservatives "built up institutions with a lot of influence, a lot of ideas. And they generated a lot of money to get out those ideas. It didn't happen by accident," he told a 2003 gathering, according to the New York Times Magazine.

Before forming what he called the "think tank on steroids," Podesta was the last chief of staff to former President Clinton, from 1998 to 2001. He also served as both an assistant to the president and deputy chief of staff, the latter position involving a cleanup role during the Monica Lewinsky scandal. As The Washington Post put it in September 1998, "He's under inhuman stress these days as the White House official in charge of saving President Clinton from himself. It's a job that amounts to cleaning up after a rogue elephant."

Podesta also was in Clinton's Cabinet and on the National Security Council and has held numerous positions on Capitol Hill, including counselor to Democratic leader Senator Thomas A. Daschle in 1995-1996.

Podesta was a co-chairman of Obama's transition team in 2008 after he won the presidency. In his new role at the White House, Podesta will advise on a range of issues including energy and climate, White House spokesman Jay Carney said. His title will be counselor to the president.

This year, he served on the U.N. Secretary-General's High-Level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda, a group formed to advise on global development.

Podesta has a B.A. from Knox College and a J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center.

(Sources: Reuters, White House, Center for American Progress)

(Compiled by Doina Chiacu; Editing by Tim Dobbyn)