WH Makes It Official: Larry Summers Is Out

September 21, 2010 1:36 pm

The White House this afternoon announced that Larry Summers will retire at the end of the year and return to Harvard, with the director of the National Economic Council becoming the third high-profile member of President Obama’s economic team to depart in recent weeks.

Bloomberg scooped the news earlier today, a West Wing shakeup hailed by progressives who never liked Summers with such a key position given his economic stances and comments he made about women and their abilities to do math.The White House said Summers, who serves as Obama’s chief advisor and who is rumored to have sparred with other West Wing staffers, will go back to job teaching economics at Harvard at the end of the year.

The White House released a statement that Obama is grateful that Summers “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,” Obama said. “We will miss him here at the White House, but I look forward to soliciting his continued advice and his counsel on an informal basis, and appreciate that he has agreed to serve as a member of the President’s Economic Advisory Board.”

Summers said he will miss the team but is “looking forward to returning to Harvard to teach and write about the economic fundamentals of job creation and stable finance as well as the integration of rising and developing countries into the global system.”

OMB director Peter Orszag left the administration this summer. Christina Romer, who led the Council of Economic Advisors, left soon after to return to her position at UC Berkeley.

Summers was not viewed as favorably as Orszag and Romer, and some administration staffers griped that he’d been caught falling asleep in key meetings.

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