Obama: Jack Lew has 'my complete trust'
President nominates White House chief of staff to be next treasury secretary
- Duration 14:35
- Date Jan 10, 2013
President nominates White House chief of staff to be next treasury secretary
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-- little more than four years ago I stood -- -- mr.
Tim Geithner announced him as my first nominee.
To my camp.
We were barely two months into the financial crisis.
The stock market had cratered the housing market.
-- -- as well bank after bank was on the verge of collapse.
And worst of all more than 800.
Thousand Americans would lose their jobs.
In just that month.
And the bottom was not -- -- -- So I could blame Tim when he tried to tell me he wasn't the right guy for the job.
-- I knew that Tim's extensive experience with the economic policy made him imminently qualified.
And I also movie could hit the ground running.
As chairman of the New York Federal Reserve he had just spent several sleepless and chaotic weeks.
Immersed in the complexities of the crisis and have been working closely with the Republican predecessor.
To save the financial system.
Then what is the -- of our economy still smoldering and unstable.
I asked him to help put it back together.
And thanks in large part to his steady hand.
Our economy has been growing again for the past three years.
Our businesses have created.
Nearly six million new jobs.
The money that we spend to save the financial system has largely been paid back.
We put in place rules to prevent.
That kind of financial meltdown from ever happening again.
And auto industry was saved.
We made short taxpayers are not on the hook if the biggest firms fail again.
We've taken steps to help underwater homeowners come up for -- And open new markets to sell American goods overseas.
And we've begun to reduce our deficit through a balanced mix of spending cuts.
And reforms to a tax code that.
At the time that we both came and was too skewed in favor the wealthy at the expense of middle class Americans.
When the history books are read.
Tim Geithner is going to go down as one of our finest.
Secretaries of the treasury.
-- -- -- On a personal note Tim has been a wonderful friend.
And dependable advisor.
Throughout these last four years.
You know there's -- saying over -- treasury no peacocks no jerks know whiners.
-- be a good saying for all of Washington.
Peacocks are -- -- whiners.
If you -- that I deal better than Tim Geithner.
That's why when Tim was thinking about leaving a couple of years ago.
-- -- to personally get on my knees with Carol.
To help convince him stay on a little bit long.
And I could not be more grateful.
To Carol in the entire -- family for allowing him to make the sacrifices that so many.
Of -- cabinet members ask of their families.
In serving the country.
And the fact is while a lot of work remains.
Especially to rebuild a strong middle class and -- working folks new pathways to rise into the middle class.
Our economy is better position for tomorrow then.
Most of those other countries hit by the financial -- The tough decisions to have made and carried out deserve a lot of credit for that.
So I understand that Tim is ready for a break.
Obviously we're sad to see him go but I cannot think of a better person to continue Tim's work at treasury and -- -- Now.
This is bittersweet not only because -- -- -- But also because Jack's been my chief of staff from last year.
He was my budget director before that.
I trust his judgment I value his friendship -- know very few people would get greater integrity.
Then the man to my left.
And so I don't wanna see him brokers -- it's working out really well for me.
To have him here in the White House but my loss will be the nation's game.
Jack has the distinction of having worked and succeeded in some of the toughest jobs in Washington and the private sector.
As a congressional staffer in the 1980s he helped negotiate the deal between President Reagan and Tip O'Neill to save social secure.
Under President Clinton he presided over three budget surpluses in a row.
So for all the talk out there about.
Made -- books are balanced.
-- the guy who did.
He helped oversee one of our nation's finest universities.
And one of our largest investment banks.
In my administration he's managed operations for the State Department and it.
The budget for the entire executive branch.
And over the past year I've sought -- advice on virtually every decision I've made from economic policy reform faults.
One reason Jack has been so effective in this town is because he is a low key guy.
Who perverse to surround himself -- policy experts rather than television cameras.
And over the years he's built a reputation as a master of policy who can work with -- members of both parties and forge principled compromise.
And and maybe most importantly is the son of polish immigrant a man of -- and about faith.
Jack knows that every number on -- page every dollar we budget every decision we make.
Has to be an expression of who we wish to be as a nation our balance.
Values to say everybody gets a fair shot at opportune.
And says that we expect all of us to fulfill our individual obligations as citizens and -- -- Jack has my complete trust no I'm not alone in that.
In the words of one former senator having blue -- -- team -- we've grown as a coach of having the luxury of putting somebody at almost any position and knowing he will do what.
And I could not agree more so I hope the senate will confirm him as quickly as possible.
I want to personally thank you both of these men and their families especially Carol and -- For their extraordinary service to our country.
And what that I'd like to invite them to say if you were starting to.
President it's been a privilege to serve you.
I'm honored and grateful that you.
Asked me to do this really and and I'm very proud of what my -- the treasury and your economic team was able to help you accomplish these first four years.
When you stepped into this building is president.
You were confronted with the world in crisis.
The worst crisis in generations.
And you made the necessary the hard the politically perilous choices.
That save the American people saved American industry.
Save the global economy.
From a failing financial system and you were successful response the crisis.
Of course did not solve all the nation's challenges.
It could not have done so.
But the actions you took.
Along with those of -- forceful and creative Federal Reserve.
Have made the country stronger.
And it put us in a much better position to face the many challenges.
Still ahead of us and and they are many.
I have the greatest respect for Jack -- I know -- a man of exceptional judgment calm under pressure.
Within extraordinary record of accomplishment -- experience.
Over decades spent at the senator of American economic policy.
He's committed to defending the safety net for the elderly in the war.
He understands what it takes to create the conditions for stronger economic growth and broader economic opportunity.
In the understands that to govern responsibly.
Is to govern with a recognition that we have limited and fiscal resources.
Now like Jack I've spent my professional life in this world of public policy and public service.
And is all of you know our families carry a large share of the burdens we assume in public life.
And I feel incredibly fortunate that my wife Carol.
And my family have been willing to allow me to do this.
And I thank them for their support.
And their patience.
And I understand their occasional.
I want to express my admiration and in my appreciation for the women and the -- of the Treasury Department.
Those who came to serve you.
These years of of crisis.
And the civil servants of the treasury and with whom I first started working in 1988.
They are exceptionally talented and honorable public servants.
I'm very proud of what -- -- helps you accomplish.
And I am confident that my successor will find them -- extraordinary asset.
They -- to the nation.
But I also hope that Americans.
Will look at the challenges we face today and decide as many you in this room have that in spite of the devices state of our political system today.
That's serving your country is compelling and rewarding work.
That was my experience and I am grateful and will always be grateful to you.
For having giving me the opportunity to serve you as the seven defense secretary of the treasury.
Is MI am honored to serve as your chief of staff and before that you know and -- in the State Department.
It's really -- privileged come to work every day as part of -- team that's dedicated to building a sound economy deceitful morals.
Then you've been a friend and -- colleague for many years actually decades.
And the American people are better off for your outstanding service.
And you know I thought I knew you pretty well but it was only yesterday that I discovered that we both share common -- -- -- -- I join the president and everyone here wishing you and -- in your whole family well.
As a kid growing up in Queens -- dreams of making a difference in the world these dreams were nurtured in the home where the gifts of American freedom and opportunity.
We're cherished and never taken for granted.
And the responsibility to engage in issues of public concern were part of daily life.
I'll always be grateful to my parents for grounding me in the values that have remained central to my personal and professional life.
I grow professionally opposite speaker O'Neill.
This compass was always clear.
And -- demand an unvarnished advice on how best to reach the desired destination.
-- cared little about -- -- rank and only about whether or not -- did the hard work informed decisions of today.
And he took a big chance giving a lot of responsibility to a very young man and for -- I'll always be thankful.
Serving -- -- be first under President Clinton and more recently in this administration and worked at one of the finest teams in the government.
To execute a responsible fiscal policy well advancing policies promote economic growth.
I'm delighted to see so many of my friends from -- be here today.
State Department -- work closely with our great secretary of state and my friend Hillary Clinton to advance our nation's.
National security agenda including our international economic policies.
And his chief of staff.
I've had the pleasure of working with a tremendously talented White House team which manages policy politics communications and complex operations.
Every day with great skill -- loyalty.
If confirmed I look forward to joining the Treasury Department whose people are legendary for their skill and knowledge.
It's -- -- that I've collaborated with closely over many years and come perspective.
Finally thank you to Ruth.
Sure she -- so hot and the kids for your endless tolerance with the demands of the schedule the test solve them with patience.
And thank you Mr.
President Rory your trust and confidence and friendship.
Serve senior administration has allowed me to about those values my parents instilled in me.
And I look forward to it continues -- -- -- -- these are two outstanding public servants I think the only.
Point that I want to make leave you with the is the fact that.
I've never noticed.
Jack's signature and and when this was highlighted yesterday in the press I considered rescinding.
-- for their point -- Jack assures me that he is -- to work to make at least one.
In order not to debase our currency.
Should he be confirmed as secretary of the -- -- -- thank you very much of.