'Low-Key Guy' Jack Lew Gets Nod at Treasury

Obama Urges Confirmation of First Orthodox Jew in Post

Master of Policy: President Obama praised Jack Lew as a policy wonk who prefers experts and figures to TV cameras.
getty images
Master of Policy: President Obama praised Jack Lew as a policy wonk who prefers experts and figures to TV cameras.

By Reuters

Published January 10, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

President Barack Obama on Thursday nominated his chief of staff, Jack Lew, as the next Treasury secretary, praising him as a expert on the pressing national issues of spending cuts and deficit reduction.

Lew will succeed Timothy Geithner and take the lead on difficult negotiations with Congress on how to cut the nation’s massive debt and rein in spending - a central challenge for Obama’s second term.

Lew, a 57-year-old New Yorker who has previously served as White House budget chief, is likely to face tough questioning from Republicans in his Senate Finance Committee confirmation hearing after a bruising year-end battle over tax increases on the wealthy. He appears likely to win Senate confirmation.

Obama described Lew as “a low-key guy who prefers to surround himself with policy experts rather than television cameras, and said the son of a Polish immigrant had a deep belief in public service.

“Over the years, he’s built a reputation as a master of policy who can work with members of both parties and forge principled compromises,” Obama said.

Since the Treasury secretary signs U.S. currency, Obama ribbed Lew for his unusually loopy signature and said the nominee had promised “to make at least one letter legible in order not to debase our currency.”

Denis McDonough, Obama’s deputy national security adviser, is the leading candidate to replace Lew as chief of staff.

Lew has experience in tough financial negotiations, having led talks with Congress in 2011 that brought a deal to avert a U.S. debt default. As budget director for former President Bill Clinton, he presided over a string of budget surpluses between 1998 and 2000.

A similar battle looms now.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Happy birthday William Shakespeare! Turns out, the Bard knew quite a bit about Jews.
  • Would you get to know racists on a first-name basis if you thought it might help you prevent them from going on rampages, like the recent shooting in Kansas City?
  • "You wouldn’t send someone for a math test without teaching them math." Why is sex ed still so taboo among religious Jews?
  • Russia's playing the "Jew card"...again.
  • "Israel should deal with this discrimination against Americans on its own merits... not simply as a bargaining chip for easy entry to the U.S." Do you agree?
  • For Moroccan Jews, the end of Passover means Mimouna. Terbhou ou Tse'dou! (good luck) How do you celebrate?
  • Calling all Marx Brothers fans!
  • What's it like to run the Palestine International Marathon as a Jew?
  • Does Israel have a racism problem?
  • This 007 hates guns, drives a Prius, and oh yeah — goes to shul with Scarlett Johansson's dad.
  • Meet Alvin Wong. He's the happiest man in America — and an observant Jew. The key to happiness? "Humility."
  • "My first bra was a training bra, a sports bra that gave the illusion of a flat chest."
  • "If the people of Rwanda can heal their broken hearts and accept the Other as human, so can we."
  • Aribert Heim, the "Butcher of Mauthausen," died a free man. How did he escape justice?
  • This guy skipped out on seder at his mom's and won a $1 million in a poker tournament. Worth it?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.