- The Washington Times - Sunday, November 23, 2008

President-elect Barack Obama Monday morning will formally announce members of his economic team, including Tim Geithner as Treasury secretary, and outline for reporters how he plans to calm the markets and reassure financially-stressed Americans.

David Axelrod, a chief strategist for Mr. Obama who in January will assume a senior White House adviser role, acknowledged for the first time that Mr. Geithner — now chairman of the New York Federal Reserve Bank — would be named to the key post.

He said on ABC’s “This Week” that the president-elect and his transition team were heartened by the market rally Friday afternoon following the first reports about the new treasury leader.

“He is the sort of person you want when you’re facing the kind of economic crisis we have today,” Mr. Axelrod said of Mr. Geithner.

“The response has been great, and it should be. Tim Geithner is uniquely qualified to do this job,” Mr. Axelrod said. “He’s someone who is steeped in the economy and in managing crises … and he’s someone who, by both temperament and experience, is well suited for the times we’re in. And we were gratified by the reaction to news of his pending appointment.”

Mr. Geithner has been involved in working with Congress to craft the Wall Street bailout package and Mr. Axelrod hailed him as someone who “was an early warning system in terms of the need for greater regulation, and has been ahead of the curve on a lot of these issues.”

Sen. Chuck Schumer, also on “This Week,” said Mr. Geithner is a “great choice,” and added he is glad that former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers will be named as director of the National Economic Council and will have a major role in the White House’s economic policy.

“These are brilliant people, two of the best. When you have an economic problem or issue, you call them; you get incisive answers,” said Mr. Schumer, New York Democrat. “They know how to solve problems. They are smart. They’re deep. They’re practical. And they’re non-ideological.”

He predicted the Summers announcement would “give the markets a whole lot of assurance,” similar to the 494-point rally seen Friday with the Geithner news.

The Monday press conference, scheduled for noon EST at a Chicago hotel, follows Mr. Obama’s weekly radio address where he promised a new economic plan to create 2.5 million jobs rebuilding the nation’s bridges and roads and in the “green” sector of wind, solar, biofuel and energy efficiency.

The president-elect also is expected to renew his promise to pass a second stimulus package, perhaps much larger than initially suggested.

“There’s a growing consensus across the spectrum among economists that we’re going to have to do something big,” Mr. Axelrod said.

The event with Mr. Obama and Vice President-elect Joe Biden will mark the first announcement of a Cabinet member, though several names have leaked out and have been confirmed.

While there is a lot of mystery surrounding key posts, what’s known so far is that Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton will be Secretary of State, Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano will be Homeland Security Secretary, former Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle will be Health and Human Services Secretary and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson will be Commerce Secretary.

It’s expected that Mr. Obama will ask Defense Secretary Robert Gates to continue serving.

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