Sunday, August 8, 2010

Obama Economic Advisor Romer Resigning - Someone Else Will Have To Sell Administration's "Mission Accomplished" Story

Christina Romer, key Obama economic aide, resigning





WASHINGTON—Christina Romer said she would resign as chairman of President Barack Obama's Council of Economic Advisers to return to her teaching post at the University of California at Berkeley, effective Sept. 3.

Ms. Romer is the second member of Mr. Obama's economic team to leave. White House budget director Peter Orszag left earlier this summer. She said she is returning to California so the youngest of her three children can begin high school there.

Ms. Romer, 51 years old, was a high-profile salesperson for the Obama economic program—and considered successful at that mission, in part because of her sincerity and plain-spoken style.

The post, she said in an interview Thursday, "was definitely as hard as I thought it ever would have been."

"I never anticipated the amount of the contact I'd have with the president," she added. "If anyone had told me that I'd meet the president of the free world every day, I never would have believed it."

Among her challenges was explaining why her prediction that the Obama-backed fiscal stimulus would keep the unemployment rate below 8% proved overly optimistic. The unemployment rate is now at 9.5%.

"I certainly hoped it would be lower," she said. "The world deteriorated between November 2008 when I started" and the initial estimates were made "and when we took office January 21. Do I wake up every morning and wish it were 8% instead of 9.5%? You bet."

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