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Exodus

Summers and Geithner leaving?

10:34 PM, Sep 20, 2010 • By WILLIAM KRISTOL
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At Monday's town hall in Washington, President Obama was asked whether his top economic adviser, Larry Summers, and his Treasury secretary, Tim Geithner, would be staying through the end of this term. Obama's answer makes one think the answer is no:

Well, look, I -- I have not made any determinations about personnel.  I think Larry Summers and Tim Geithner have done an outstanding job, as have my whole economic team. This is tough, the work that they do.  They've been at it for two years.  And, you know, they're going to have a whole range of decisions about family that'll factor into this as well. But the bottom line is -- is that we're constantly thinking, is what we're doing working as well as it could?  Do we have other options and other alternatives that we can explore?

So: Council of Economic Advisors chair Christina Romer and budget director Peter Orszag have already left. Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and National Security Advisor Jim Jones are almost certain to leave shortly after Nov. 2. And now it looks like Summers and Geithner may join them in the private sector.

On the one hand, Republicans will chortle that the rats are fleeing a sinking ship. They may be right. Or have the rats been shoved overboard? Could this mean that Obama is ruthless enough to act, after Nov. 2, to change staff, change course, and try to save his presidency?

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