Obama taps Goolsbee as top White House economist

By Caren Bohan and Alister Bull

WASHINGTON (BestGrowthStock) – President Barack Obama has chosen Austan Goolsbee as the new head of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, U.S. administration officials said on Thursday, promoting a longtime adviser from his inner policy circle.

The announcement will ensure continuity within Obama’s economic team at an important time as the president tries to lift the faltering economy, and as speculation swirls around the future of other senior White House players, particularly the president’s chief of staff Rahm Emanuel.

Obama is to announce his pick to replace Christina Romer as chair of the CEA at a White House news conference planned for 11:00 a.m. Eastern time (1500 GMT) on Friday.

The CEA is a key source of economic policy advice for the president and its chair plays a leading role in explaining the White House’s economic message, an important job on Obama’s behalf as anxiety over the outlook saps his approval ratings.

Goolsbee, 41, had been the strong favorite to replace Romer after she announced her return to academia.

The appointment will not require Senate confirmation since Goolsbee already has been confirmed as a member of the CEA.

A respected economist with a PhD from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Goolsbee has been a particularly visible presence this week explaining the president’s latest proposals to boost growth and hiring.

POLICY PITCHMAN

Obama is trying to ease unemployment stuck near 10 percent amid slowing growth, with voter unease over the economy threatening punishment for his Democrats in congressional midterm elections on November 2.

Goolsbee, who is also chief economist to the president’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board, chaired by former Federal Reserve chief Paul Volcker, has been closely involved in the policy process.

Already a familiar face on financial news television, he is an effective communicator and will likely be a persuasive advocate for Obama’s approach to the economy as voters weigh the choice between Democrats and Republicans in November.

A longtime adviser to Obama who is on leave from his job as University of Chicago economics professor, Goolsbee has earned Obama’s confidence and is well-liked by the president’s inner circle, which could make him influential.

Nearly two years into Obama’s presidential term, speculation about other changes in the White House team is mounting, particularly concerning Emanuel following the surprise decision of Chicago Mayor Richard Daley to not seek reelection. Emanuel has made no secret of his desire to be Chicago’s mayor one day.

In addition to naming the next head of the CEA, Obama is also expected to announce soon his pick to lead the newly created consumer financial protection bureau. The leading candidate for this slot is consumer advocate Elizabeth Warren.

(Editing by Anthony Boadle and Eric Walsh)

Obama taps Goolsbee as top White House economist