Eye Opener: Tension for Obama's Economic Team
Happy Monday! It seems Larry Summers has shepherded in an era of awkward feelings among the president's economic advisers. The best turf war stories always begin with an anecdote, don't they? Today's example comes courtesy of Jackie Calmes at the New York Times:
"President Obama was getting his daily economic briefing one recent morning when a fly distracted him. The president swatted and missed, just as the pest buzzed near the shoes of Lawrence H. Summers, the chief White House economic adviser. 'Couldn’t you aim a little higher?' deadpanned Christina D. Romer, the chairwoman of the Council of Economic Advisers.
"Mrs. Romer was joking, she said in an interview, adding, 'There are only a few times that I felt like smacking Larry.' Yet few laughed in the president’s presence.
"If the Oval Office incident was meant as a lighthearted moment, it also exposed the underlying tensions that have gripped Mr. Obama’s economic advisers as they have struggled with the gravest financial crisis since the Depression, according to several dozen interviews with administration officials and others familiar with the internal debates."
More: "Along the way, Mr. Summers has forcefully debated the Treasury secretary, his onetime protégé Timothy F. Geithner, over what to do with troubled banks. He has clashed with Peter R. Orszag, the budget director, over fiscal and health policy issues. He has collided with Austan Goolsbee, an economist on the Council of Economic Advisers, over whether to rescue Chrysler. And he and Mrs. Romer have squabbled over how best to make the economic case for overhauling health care.
"The disagreements are only natural, White House officials say. The issues are big, and so are the personalities, as Mr. Obama intended. He has said he wanted advisers who would be teammates as well as rivals, long on experience and brainpower and able to air all sides of an issue to help him decide."
Indeed, what's a little disagreement among colleagues when you're tasked with saving the world? Only natural, right?
Thoughts? Discuss in the comments section below.
• Cabinet and Staff News: Hillary Rodham Clinton initially refused Obama's SecState advancements. Janet Napolitano as Secretary of Homeland Divaness? Kathleen Sebelius unveils $200 million for doctor recruitment. Robert Gates tours missile defense base in Alaska. New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson (D) snubs Eric Holder and Napolitano. More details on Obama's new pay czar. DHS intel nominee withdraws. Obama's pick to oversee the nation's forests withdraws. Another think tanker heads to DOD.
• GAO Cites FEMA Preparedness Gaps: Almost four years after Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast, the agency has failed to clarify the responsibilities of different agencies that would respond to such disasters.
• State Dept.'s Historian Is Reassigned: A report by Harold W. Geisel, acting State Department inspector general, said the turmoil could be resolved only with the transfer of the historian, Marc J. Susser.
• Arrests Made in Killing of American in Iraq: Five American contractors have been detained in Baghdad in connection with the murder of another American contractor, a senior Interior Ministry official said Sunday.
• Warning: There's a 'Sell' Sign In Tighter Pentagon Budgets: U.S. military spending, which rose for the past decade, may be about to peak.
• Obama's GSA Nominee Vows to Repair Relationship With IG: A contentious relationship with the inspector general can be the undoing of an agency head; just ask former General Services Administration chief Lurita A. Doan.
• For Tanker Contract, 3rd Time the Charm?: This summer, the Defense Department will make its third attempt to award a $35 billion contract to buy aerial refueling tankers.
• Federal Agencies Seek to Model Green Behavior: Agencies can have a significant effect on the environment by making sustainable purchasing decisions and emulating energy efficient programs, several agency leaders said during a federal conference in Las Vegas on Wednesday.
| June 8, 2009; 6:05 AM ET
Categories: Eye Opener
Save & Share: Previous: Post Politics Program: Valerie Jarrett, Jeff Sessions
Next: FY-Eye: The Flow-Chart Fallacy
The comments to this entry are closed.