Obama calling on economic experts for advice

(AP) - President-elect Obama is calling on economicexperts to discuss the first steps toward healing a damaged economyas he forms a new administration in the face of a worsening crisis. "We're not starting

News 12 Staff

Nov 7, 2008, 4:06 PM

Updated 5,734 days ago

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(AP) - President-elect Obama is calling on economicexperts to discuss the first steps toward healing a damaged economyas he forms a new administration in the face of a worsening crisis.
"We're not starting from nowhere," said Lawrence Summers, aTreasury secretary under President Clinton and one of the 17members of Obama's transition economic advisory board who were tomeet Friday with Obama.
"Throughout his campaign the president-elect has been talkingabout what we need to do. We need to put the middle class at thecenter of the policy approach in a way that it hasn't been theselast years," Summers told NBC's "Today."
Leaders of business, government and academia to meet with Obamaand Vice President-elect Joe Biden include executives from XeroxCorp., Time Warner Inc., Google Inc. and the Hyatt hotel company.Investor Warren Buffett was participating by telephone.
Obama also was holding his first news conference aspresident-elect after the meeting.
It was to be Obama's first public appearance since Tuesday'selection, where exit polls showed that the economy was far and awaythe top issue for voters. More evidence of a recession came Fridaywhen the government reported that the unemployment rate had jumpedfrom 6.1 percent in September to 6.5 percent in October.
Obama has been meeting privately with his transition team,receiving congratulatory phone calls from U.S. allies andintelligence briefings, and making decisions about who will helprun his government.
His first choice, for White House chief of staff, was RahmEmanuel, a fiery partisan unafraid of breaking glass and hurtingfeelings. The choice of Emanuel is a significant departure from thesoft-spoken, low-key aides that "No-Drama Obama" surroundedhimself with during the campaign. And transition chief JohnPodesta, like Emanuel, is a former top aide to President Clintonand a tough partisan infighter, though less bombastic than the newchief of staff.
The selections are telling for Obama, who campaigned as anontraditional, almost "post-partisan" newcomer. People close tohim say the selections show he is aware of his strengths andweaknesses, and knows what he needs to be successful as he shiftsfrom campaigning to governing.
Transition spokeswoman Stephanie Cutter said Obama would notannounce any personnel appointments Friday.
One person frequently mentioned for a Cabinet post, PennsylvaniaGov. Ed Rendell, will not be available until 2011, say officialsclose to him. Rendell has two years left of his term, and Lt. Gov.Catherine Baker Knoll, a Democrat, is ailing. Next in line to begovernor is the Republican president pro tempore the state Senate.
Rather than take the chance that the GOP would gain control ofthe governor's office, Rendell has signaled he will stay put forthe time being.
On Friday morning, Obama and his wife, Michelle, attended aparent-teacher conference at the University of Chicago Lab Schoolwhere their daughters, Malia and Sasha, are students. The coupleplanned to visit the White House on Monday at President Bush'sinvitation.
Obama planned to stay home through the weekend, with a blackouton news announcements so he and his staff can rest after thegrueling campaign and the rush of Tuesday night's victory. He isplanning a family getaway to Hawaii in December before they move tothe White House, and to honor his grandmother, Madelyn Dunham, whodied Sunday at her home there.
Obama, who bested Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton for the Democraticpresidential nomination, has made it clear he will rely heavily onveterans of her husband's eight-year administration, the onlyDemocratic presidency in the past 28 years.
Podesta was President Clinton's chief of staff, and severalother former Clinton aides are on Obama's short lists for key jobs,Democratic officials say. Some helped write a large briefing bookon how to govern, assembled under Podesta's supervision.
Obama also is certain to bring to the White House a cadre oflongtime aides like senior adviser David Axelrod and presssecretary Robert Gibbs. Both have worked closely with Obama sincehe ran for the Senate in 2004.


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