FROM THE TOP…. At his third economic-related press conference in as many days, Barack Obama announced the creation of the President’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board, modeled on the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board created by President Eisenhower to “provide rigorous analysis and vigorous oversight of our intelligence community by individuals outside of government — individuals who would be candid and unsparing in their assessment.” He introduced former Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volcker as the chairman of the panel, and University of Chicago economist Austan Goolsbee as its staff director and chief economist.
During the Q&A, CNN’s Ed Henry asked if there were enough new faces on his team to fulfill Obama’s pledge to bring change to Washington. The president-elect first noted it would be even more jarring if his team didn’t include officials with experience from the Clinton administration.
“It would be surprising if I selected a Treasury secretary who had had no connection with the last Democratic administration because that would mean the person had no experience in Washington whatsoever. And I suspect you would be troubled and the American people would be troubled if I selected a Treasury secretary or a chairman of the National Economic Council … who had no experience whatsoever…. What I don’t want to do is to somehow suggest that because you served in the last Democratic administration that you’re somehow barred from serving again — because we need people are going to be able to hit the ground running.”
But even more importantly, Obama insisted that it won’t be his team that shapes the vision for his administration.
“[U]nderstand where the vision for change comes from first and foremost: it comes from me. That’s my job, to provide a vision in terms of where we are going and to make sure that my team is implementing it.
It was the first real inkling that Obama is aware of the media chatter, and he hopes to put some of this to rest, reminding his audience that he plans to “combine experience with fresh thinking.” The change, according to his argument, will come from his vision, not his cabinet picks.