Obama names Gene Sperling top economic adviser

By Associated Press
Posted Jan. 7 at 11:17 a.m.

President Barack Obama appointed Gene Sperling as his director of the National Economic Council Friday, placing a Washington veteran with a bipartisan track record in the White House as the administration contends with a divided Congress.

Sperling’s appointment coincided with the release of the December jobs report that showed the unemployment rate dropping to 9.4 percent, its lowest level in nearly two years. But job growth fell short of expectations, and Obama said that Sperling, along with other newly appointed members of the economic team, have a challenging task ahead.

“Our mission has to be to accelerate hiring and accelerate growth,” Obama said during remarks at a window manufacturing plant in suburban Maryland. “That depends on making our economy more competitive.”

Sperling, a counselor to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, is returning to a familiar role. He served as NEC director in the Clinton administration, where he played a key role in the 1993 deficit reduction bill and compromised with a Republican-led Congress on the 1997 balanced budget agreement.

“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.

Sperling takes over the council post from Lawrence Summers, who left the White House last month to return to Harvard University.


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