Marc H. Morial
President and CEO
National Urban League
It is now apparent that President Obama was doing a lot more than eating shaved ice and playing golf during his Hawaiian holiday vacation. Almost immediately upon his return to the White House last week, the President announced the appointments of William M. Daley as Chief of Staff and Gene Sperling as Director of the National Economic Council. Both men bring a combination of successful presidential advisory experience and business know-how to their new jobs. It is an encouraging sign that as the President focuses relentlessly on his stated goal of creating jobs and turning our economy around, he is enlisting the help of two of the most influential architects of the Clinton economic boom years.
William M. Daley, the brother of six-term Chicago Mayor, Richard Daley, served as President Clinton’s Commerce Secretary from 1997-2000, and later ran Al Gore’s presidential campaign. He has also been a practicing lawyer, bank president, top business executive and political fund raiser. It is no secret that Daley’s business interests have sometimes been at odds with the President’s more progressive agenda, but it is also true that Daley is a job creator who knows how to get things done. Upon his appointment the President said, “Few Americans can boast the breadth of experience that Bill brings to this job. He’s led major corporations; he possesses a deep understanding of how jobs are created.”
New Economic Council Director Gene Sperling makes a return to the West Wing, where he held the same title in the Clinton Administration. Along with former Treasury Secretaries, Robert Rubin and Larry Summers, Sperling is credited with developing policies that led to the creation of 22 million new jobs during the eight years of the Clinton presidency. Unemployment for African Americans fell from 14.2 percent in 1992 to 7.3 percent in October 2000, the lowest rate on record. Unemployment for Hispanics fell from 11.8 percent in October 1992 to 5.0 percent in October 2000, also the lowest rate on record.
A Yale Law School graduate, Sperling was most recently a senior counselor to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner. He was one of the Obama Administration’s chief negotiators in the recently passed tax cut deal and has served as economic advisor to both Hillary Clinton and former New York governor, Mario Cuomo. Sperling is also a senior fellow with the Council on Foreign relations where he has promoted the education of girls in developing countries.
President Obama said, “One of the main reasons why I chose Gene is because he has done this work before. After serving in the nineties with President Clinton, he helped turn deficits into surpluses and helped cement the years of prosperity and progress of American families”.
In picking William Daley and Gene Sperling to fill these key positions, President Obama is demonstrating a commitment to measureable results. We look forward to working with Bill and Gene as we continue the push to bring jobs and prosperity back to our communities.
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