Page last updated at 03:15 GMT, Monday, 24 November 2008

Obama 'to unveil economic team'

Timothy Geithner - 24/7/2008
Timothy Geithner has been heavily involved in tackling the credit crisis

US President-elect Barack Obama is set to unveil his economic team.

He is expected to name Timothy Geithner, the current chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, as his treasury secretary.

Mr Geithner was the "right man" for the key post, senior Obama strategist David Axelrod told US TV networks.

Lawrence Summers, who was treasury secretary under President Bill Clinton, is expected to be named as head of Mr Obama's National Economic Council.

If the appointment is confirmed, the former Harvard University president would be central to drafting a two-year, multi-faceted economic stimulus plan that the president-elect has promised, says the BBC's James Coomarasamy in Washington.

Mr Obama has said the economy needed to create 2.5m jobs by 2011.

In a weekly address on Saturday, he said he wanted to rebuild America's ageing infrastructure, including roads and bridges, while developing sources of renewable energy.

Experience stressed

Mr Obama is delaying other cabinet announcements until after Thursday's Thanksgiving holiday but he has decided his key economic appointments cannot wait, our correspondent says.

Chief of staff: Rahm Emanuel, a deputy chief of staff to Bill Clinton
Senior advisers: David Axelrod, Valerie Jarrett, Peter Rouse and John Podesta (formerly chief of staff to Bill Clinton)
Press secretary: Robert Gibbs
White House counsel: Greg Craig, formerly special counsel to Bill Clinton
Vice-president's chief of staff: Ron Klain, formerly chief of staff to Al Gore
Staff secretary: Lisa Brown, formerly counsel to Al Gore

The president-elect's new economic team will be charged with revitalising the US economy, which is faltering badly amid the global downturn.

Unconfirmed reports naming Mr Geithner first came on Friday, boosting New York shares by 6.5% after days of losses.

The 47-year-old worked closely with Mr Summers at the treasury during the 1990s, and reports suggest they have a strong working relationship.

Speaking on Sunday talk shows, Mr Axelrod, the chief campaign strategist who is taking up a role as a senior advisor to the incoming president, praised Mr Geithner's experience and ability.

"Tim Geithner is someone who had experience in dealing with economic crises as the assistant secretary of treasury for international affairs in the '90s," he said.

"He's intimately involved with the situation now in his role as president of New York Fed [Federal Reserve].

"By temperament and experience, he's the right man to lead the Treasury now," added Mr Axelrod.

Pledge reconsidered?

Giving his first Sunday interviews since becoming a senior adviser to Mr Obama, Mr Axelrod said the incoming administration was considering all aspects of the economic crisis in its efforts to drag the US away from recession.

Lawrence Summers (file pic)
Lawrence Summers was treasury head at the close of the Clinton years

Speaking to ABC News, he refused to deny that Mr Obama was considering an economic stimulus package in excess of the $175 billion (118bn) he pledged during the election campaign.

Charles Schumer, a leading Democratic senator, said the figure needed to be somewhere between $500bn and $700bn, Reuters news agency reported.

The president-elect would do "what's necessary", Mr Axelrod told ABC, adding: "I think we're going to have to do a combination of things to get the economy moving again."

Mr Axelrod ruled out a "blank cheque" bail-out of struggling auto manufacturers, who saw their requests for federal funding turned down by the outgoing Congress during the week.

They would be asked to return to Congress in December with a plan, not just "an expression of need", he said.

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