It’s official – Obama has replaced Larry Summers with Gene Sperling as Director of the National Economic Council. Sperling served in the same position under Clinton from 1996 to 2000, where he got plenty of experience dealing with a Republican congress.
In my personal opinion, this is great. The Director of the NEC is the top Economic advisory position to the President, and it’s responsible for interpreting all the information coming from elsewhere in the administration.
Larry Summers may be a genius, but he’s not known as the diplomatic type – one had to wonder whether the President was hearing opinions from people that Summers disagreed with. When Sperling was head of the NEC under Clinton, he could filter people like Summers (who was Secretary of the Treasury) while making sure that other, less vocal advisors got a word in. Also, he’s got a reputation as being a true believer, and his pet issues are poverty and “public investment”. Sounds good to me! Maybe we can get some infrastructure project and investments in education for NYC.
I just read a really interesting profile of him written at the end of the Clinton administration… worth taking a look at. Full text here and encouraging quote here:
Known to colleagues, as former White House press secretary Michael McCurry puts it, as the embodiment of “the pure, idealistic, best side of Bill Clinton,” Sperling has given seven years of hundred hour weeks largely out of a desire to help poor people.