Obama Taps Veteran Policymaker as Top Economic Adviser

Gene Sperling assumes reins of Obama administration's economic recovery plan.

ByDevin Dwyer
January 07, 2011, 8:59 AM

WASHINGTON, Jan. 7, 2010— -- President Obama continued the makeover of his senior staff today with the appointment of top economic advisers who will oversee the administration's approach to job growth and recovery from the recession.

Obama named Treasury Department official Gene Sperling, a veteran economist and policymaker, to head the National Economic Council, a post he previously held in the Clinton administration.

Speaking at a window factory in Maryland, Obama hailed Sperling as an "extraordinary asset" with a proven track record of brokering bipartisan compromises on economic legislation.

"He's a public servant who has devoted his life to making this economy work and making it work specifically for middle class families," Obama said. "In his tenure in the Clinton administration during the late 90s, he helped formulate the policies that contributed to turning deficits to surpluses and a time of prosperity and progress for American families in a sustained way."

Sperling, 52, assumes the reins as the latest jobs report puts the nation's unemployment rate at 9.4 percent and notes one in five Americans are underemployed. He now faces the challenge of helping the administration make sufficient progress on job creation to convince voters that Obama's policies are working.

The latest round of appointments comes as part of a broader retooling inside the White House, which faces new political realities in Washington and a looming re-election campaign in 2012.

Obama appointed former commerce secretary Bill Daley as White House chief of staff Thursday, a move widely viewed as a centrist pick who will work well with Republicans.

The President will now focus on finding a replacement for outgoing press secretary Robert Gibbs, who is the most public face of the administration. Whoever Obama picks will help set the tone for negotiations with lawmakers on Capitol Hill and chart a course for advancing the administration's agenda.

Here's a closer look at who's out and who's in with the latest White House senior staff shake-up:

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