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Former Treasury Secretary to Lead Economic Council

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SARAH WHEATON and JACKIE CALMES
NY Times
Sunday, Nov 23, 2008

President-elect Barack Obama is expected to name Lawrence H. Summers as his pick to head the National Economic Council, an aide to Mr. Obama said Saturday.

The position is considered one of the top three economic posts in the administration, along with Treasury secretary and budget director. The economic council was created during the Clinton administration, and the director’s job is to serve as a coordinator of economic policies and the conduit to the president on domestic and global economic issues. The director is also charged with monitoring implementation of the president’s economic agenda.

Mr. Summers, 53, a former chief economist at the World Bank and professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, served as Treasury secretary in the Clinton administration from 1999 to 2001. After leaving government in 2001, he was president of Harvard for five years but resigned after clashing with faculty over his remarks suggesting that women lack the intrinsic aptitude for math and science.

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Also on Saturday, Mr. Obama named his top press staff, retaining a key campaign strategist as press secretary and tapping an ardent supporter of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York to direct communications.

Robert Gibbs is set to become the face of the White House as the press secretary. Mr. Gibbs, 37, has been working with Mr. Obama since 2004, including stints as his campaign’s communications director, and later a top strategist. Mr. Gibbs has built a reputation as an aggressive defender of his boss, and though his temperament contrasts with Mr. Obama’s cool style, he is exceptionally close to the president-elect.

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This article was posted: Sunday, November 23, 2008 at 5:48 am





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