Obama’s Real Economic Team

On Saturday, the WSJ knew exactly who would be joining Tim Geithner in Barack Obama’s economic team:

Congressional Budget Office director Peter Orszag will be Mr. Obama’s budget director. Jacob Lew, a former Clinton budget director, will head the White House’s National Economic Council. Jason Furman, the economic policy director of the Obama campaign, is likely to be Mr. Lew’s deputy. And Austan Goolsbee, a University of Chicago economist and long-time policy confidante, is expected to chair the Council of Economic Advisers.

Today, the official announcement was made. And it features none of the names on the WSJ’s list.

It turns out that the NEC director will be not Lew but Larry Summers; the CEA director will not be Goolsbee but Christina Romer. So far there’s been no mention of Furman, either; the WSJ is surely hoping that Orszag’s appointment will be announced tomorrow, as Jonathan Weisman, one of the authors of the original report, claims today.

This misstep doesn’t make the WSJ look good, of course, but it also reflects badly on the Obama-Biden transition team, which seems to be significantly leakier than the Obama-Biden campaign was, and not in a good way. If I were Lew or Goolsbee I’d be furious at the WSJ report, and at whoever the sources were for it, because now they both look as though they had the jobs in question until someone better came along.

Summers and Romer are both first-rate economists who will serve Obama very well. But let’s just hope they have better message control than Obama’s current team.

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