As rumors continue to spread that University President Richard Levin is under consideration to lead President Barack Obama’s National Economic Council, Noam Scheiber posted on The New Republic his view on why investment banker and former Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Roger Altman, who has visited the White House multiple times, has not yet been chosen to lead the NEC:
My sense from talking to administration officials who work on economic policy is that, while no one at the White House really dislikes Altman, no one is particularly smitten with him either. (That apparently describes Summers’s views, too.) Altman lacks an internal advocate willing to go to the mat for him.
Of course, this wouldn’t necessarily be a problem if the guy making the final decision were super-high on Altman. But that doesn’t appear to be the case either. “I’ve heard that the president didn’t like his short list, so they’re going back to round up people,” one official told me recently.
What about Levin and former NEC director Gene Sperling LAW ’85, the other two candidates reportedly on Obama’s short list? Scheiber wrote that he had not heard Levin’s name before today but thinks Sperling has his own supporters in the White House and may be a serious contender for the position.