Is Obama Following the Clinton Script?
Updated 4:07 p.m. Eastern Time
It must seem like moving day lately at the White House - new folks coming in and old folks on their way out. This week alone we learned there will be new press secretary; we met a new chief of staff; and we learned of some job swaps on the economic team, most notably the return of Gene Sperling to head the National Economic Council.
Many remember Sperling for having done that job under President Bill Clinton; most recently, he served as an advisor to Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner. Sperling replaces Larry Summers, another Clinton White House veteran who came back to serve under President Obama. In announcing Sperling today, Mr. Obama noted the return engagement.
"This is his second tour of duty heading up the NEC, and 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," he said.
Yesterday it was another Clinton administration veteran who was announced for another run in the White House: Bill Daley, Mr. Clinton's commerce secretary and now Mr. Obama's latest chief of staff. Daley is replacing another former Clinton vet, Rahm Emanuel.
"Few Americans can boast the breadth of experience that Bill brings to this job," the president said in announcing Daley. "He will bring his tremendous experience, his strong values and forward-looking vision to this White House. I'm convinced that he'll help us in our mission of growing our economy and moving America forward," he said.
Part of Daley's experience is serving on various major corporate boards since leaving the White House - experience and ties to the business community that are going to be key for Obama White House.
Another key recent White House addition was Jack Lew, another Clinton administration veteran who Mr. Obama tapped to run the Office of Management and Budget back in July.
"If there was a Hall of Fame for budget directors, then Jack Lew surely would have earned a place for his service in that role under President Clinton, when he helped balance the federal budget after years of deficits. When Jack left that post at the end of the Clinton administration, he handed the next administration a record $236 billion budget surplus," said Mr. Obama. "Jack is the only budget director in history to preside over a budget surplus for three consecutive years."
For Mr. Obama, the returning Clinton staff must come with hope for a sequel of the Clinton years, specifically that era's economic growth and balanced budget. Indeed, the parallels between the two presidents can be striking. Both saw historic Republican gains in their first mid-term election, and both are now turning to many of the same men to right the ship.
"The president appears to be going for competence," said Democratic consultant and CBS News contributor Jamal Simmons. "The people he is bringing in are people who have managed the government before with a Republican Congress. You can't go back in time or repeat history, but if this team is focused on the economy the president should do very well reestablishing himself before 2012. It shows confidence and the ability to change course. One thing Barack Obama has proven over and over is that he is willing to do what it takes to win."
Popular in Politics
- Obama forgets to salute while boarding Marine One Play Video
- The Ted Cruz conundrum
- Senators lack votes on immigration despite progress
- Petraeus biographer regrets affair
- Senator: Oklahoma "hit hard, but we're not knocked out"
- IRS' Lerner was asked to resign, refused: GOP Sen. 205 Comments
- GOP Rep.: Obama elected because of Reagan's immigration reforms
- As summer approaches, sequestration threatens holiday fun