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Christina Romer: second adviser to leave Obama economic team

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Charles Dharapak/AP/File

(Read caption) In this Feb. 11 file photo, Council of Economic Advisers Chair Christina Romer briefs reporters at the White House in Washington. The White House on Thursday, Aug. 5 said that Romer is resigning her position to return to academia. Her resignation will take effect Sept. 3.

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Christina Romer, chair of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers, will be the second member of President Obama’s economic team to leave the administration, following former budget director Peter Orszag’s departure last month. The resignations of two key advisers only a year and a half into Obama’s term is a testament to the severity of the challenges the administration has faced leading the economic recovery.

President Obama called on Ms. Romer, an expert on the causes and recovery of the Great Depression, to lead the recovery team in the fall of 2008. She was instrumental in crafting the $789 billion stimulus package passed just months into her tenure.

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Romer co-authored a report that predicted the stimulus would keep the unemployment rate at 8 percent. With the jobless rate hovering around 10 percent and expected to stay at that level at least through the end of the year, Romer's forecast has been criticized by Republicans.

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Her team, though, maintains that the package has saved some 3 million jobs. A recent analysis by economists Mark Zandi of Moody’s Analytics and Alan Blinder of Princeton University concluded that the stimulus raised 2010 gross domestic product, a measure of the output of US goods and services, by 3.4 percent and added 2.7 million jobs.

More recent stimulus efforts pushed by Romer’s team have faced considerable challenges, including a $26 billion package extending stimulus Medicare and education funding to the states, which passed in the Senate Thursday after months of debate. The current proposal is about half the size of the original plan.

Her last day at the White House will be Sept. 3. Romer will return to her post as a professor of economics at the University of California at Berkeley. She is married to David Romer, also an economics professor at Berkeley, and has three children.

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