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Lawrence Summers to leave post as one of Obama’s top economic advisors

President Obama announced Tuesday that one of his main economic advisors, Lawrence Summers, will be leaving at the end of the year.

Obama had asked Summers, the director of the National Economic Council and assistant to the president for economic policy, to stay through 2010 to help pass a financial regulatory overhaul and to continue guiding the stimulus program passed last year, a senior administration official said. Summers will return to Harvard University.

“I will always be grateful that at a time of great peril for our country, a man of Larry’s brilliance, experience and judgment was willing to answer the call and lead our economic team,” Obama said in a statement. “Over the past two years, he has helped guide us from the depths of the worst recession since the 1930s to renewed growth. And while we have much work ahead to repair the damage done by the recession, we are on a better path thanks in no small measure to Larry’s wise counsel.”

With his departure, Summers will be the third high-ranking administration official to leave. The others are Christina Romer, who chaired the Council of Economic Advisors, and Peter Orszag, who headed the Office of Management and Budget.

The announcement of Summers’s departure comes amid deep public anxiety over Obama’s handling of the economy. Unemployment is hovering near 10% and the economic recovery has been far slower than the White House had hoped.

Summers’ resignation is a victory of sorts for Obama’s main Republican foil, House minority leader John Boehner of Ohio.

In a speech last month in Cleveland, Boehner called upon the president to fire both Summers and Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner.

Geithner’s job appears safe for now.


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