Obama Taps Clinton Administration Veteran to Be Top Economic Adviser

President Obama has picked Clinton-era economic adviser Gene Sperling to replace Larry Summers as the head of the president's National Economic Council. The move is part of a major retooling of Obama's economic team, in an effort to boost the abysmal economy and prepare to face Republican opposition in 2012, Reuters reports.

Sperling's appointment comes amid a week of big changes in Washington, as the 112th Congress is sworn in, Robert Gibbs announces his resignation as Obama's press secretary and JP Morgan Chase executive William Daley is announced as the president's new chief of staff.

According to Reuters, Sperling is a counselor to treasury secretary Tim Geithner who "served as head of the NEC for President Bill Clinton between 1997 and 2000, and helped Clinton battle the Republicans and, eventually, balance the budget." That pedigree holds obvious appeal to Obama, as Raw Story notes:

Sperling is a veteran of divided government battles with Republicans during then-president Bill Clinton's administration -- and his promotion comes as Obama faces a similar political scenario after November's mid-term elections.

Sperling is also thought of as quite the workhorse in Washington:

He is renowned in Washington for his work ethic -- he was once dubbed "Gene the Machine" -- and is familiar to sometimes-fazed reporters for his enthusiastic and exhaustive briefings on the trickiest of economic topics....

He was a key player in the compromise late last year with Republicans on extending tax cuts passed under the administration of ex-president George W. Bush, in a package including help for the unemployed and stimulatory measures.

Sperling also worked with a presidential task force, now credited with reviving the American auto industry, and has been behind some of Obama's efforts to boost small businesses and spur hiring by a key motor of the economy.

Obama will promote current White House economic aide Jason Furman to the number-two spot at the NEC, under Sperling.

AlterNet / By Lauren Kelley

Posted at January 7, 2011, 4:50am

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