Douglas Elmendorf: The Numbers Man Whom D.C. Trusts — and Loathes

A profile of Douglas Elmendorf, the unassuming but much castigated director of the Congressional Budget Office

Rennio Maifredi for TIME

Elmendorf warns that the government is spending far beyond its means.

Douglas Elmendorf doesn't look like the kind of guy who could intimidate those at the pinnacles of power. A soft-spoken academic who coaches his daughters' soccer team, he is described by virtually everyone who knows him as a genuinely nice guy. But consider some of the things that have been said about the director of the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and his ideas during the past year. "Off the wall," fumed Dave Obey, the famously volatile chairman of the House Appropriations Committee. Senate majority leader Harry Reid has suggested — and not in a nice way — that Elmendorf's...

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