Monday, Feb. 01, 2010

The Obama Administration is Stand Offish

Larry Summers, President Obama's top economic adviser, was a presence at Davos. Other than that, senior officials from the White House and federal agencies were largely missing. In introducing a session on financial regulation, moderator Barry Eichengreen, a professor of economics and political science at University of California, Berkeley, said that the participants represented the range of voices in the debate — except for the Obama Administration. Then he asked, "But why should this panel be any different?" Members of Congress showed up at Davos and took part in discussions on topics ranging from bank reform to cyber security to breast cancer. But while other countries sent senior ministers and secretaries, America's executive branch for the most part didn't — a change from the days of the Bush Administration when the likes of Dick Cheney, Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice would show up.