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Nominee to chair economic advisers breaks the mold

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By The Associated Press
Monday, June 10, 2013, 6:03 p.m.
 

WASHINGTON — For someone with a reputation for seeking varying points of view before staking out a position or offering advice, Jason Furman was once, well, quite the risk taker.

President Obama's nominee to a top White House economic advisory post years ago took the stereotype of “on the one hand, on the other hand” economic rumination to a different place.

He juggled. Knives, specifically. On the streets of New York as a teenager. Sometimes, a bowling ball, an egg and an apple.

These days, Furman, 42, is a senior economic adviser who has been involved in economic policy since the Clinton administration. He has advised President Obama through the depths of the recession to, now, a modest recovery. He is a senior economist in a Democratic White House with friends and admirers among conservatives.

On Monday, Obama nominated Furman to be the next chairman of the White House's Council of Economic Advisers. If confirmed by the Senate, he would replace Alan Krueger, who is returning to his teaching post at Princeton University.

Unlike his three predecessors, who came from the world of academics, Furman is a member of the Washington economic establishment. He has been an adviser at the World Bank, to President Clinton, has worked at the Brookings Institution think tank, advised John Kerry on economic policy during his presidential run in 2004 and has counseled Obama since his 2008 campaign.

“When the stakes are highest, there's no one I'd rather turn to for straightforward, unvarnished advice,” Obama said.

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