November 27, 2004


The Rise of a New Economic Czar?: Bush loyalist Tim Adams may be the favorite to head the National Economic Council. If he does, he's likely to boost the position's power (Howard Gleckman, 11/24/04, Business Week)

The remaking of the Bush economic team continues. Stephen Friedman, who heads the National Economic Council, is resigning to return to New York, White House aides say. And whoever replaces him may well find that the best place to shape economic policy in the second-term Administration will be inside the White House, at the head of the NEC. [...]

While Bush hasn't yet named a replacement, the inside track belongs to Tim Adams, the former Treasury Dept. chief of staff who served as policy director of the President's reelection campaign.

Adams, a low-key policy expert, would fit the recent Bush pattern: Choosing long-time loyalists to fill sensitive posts. At Treasury and on the campaign, Adams was able to manage sometimes-nasty policy spats among conservative economists. Like Friedman -- and unlike Lawrence B. Lindsey, who was the NEC chair from 2001 to 2002 -- Adams is a pragmatist who's unlikely to bring his own agenda to the job. But unlike Friedman, Adams is considered a savvy Washington insider.

As a result, Adams could fill a key role as the Bush Administration pursues its twin second-term domestic-policy initiatives: Creating private Social Security accounts and revamping the federal tax system. Sources say Adams strongly supports early and aggressive action on both initiatives. And should he become the NEC chief, Adams and Budget Director Joshua B. Bolten could be central players in developing both policy and strategy inside the White House. The third key player: Top political adviser Karl Rove.

Posted by Orrin Judd at November 27, 2004 6:56 AM
Comments for this post are closed.