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Obama agenda: Skip to my Lew

The New York Times: “With his choice of Jacob J. Lew to be the secretary of Treasury, President Obama on Thursday will complete the transformation of his economic team from the big-name economists and financial firefighters hired four years ago to budget negotiators ready for the next fiscal fights in Congress. If confirmed by the Senate, the 57-year-old Mr. Lew — Mr. Obama’s current chief of staff and former budget director — would become the president’s second Treasury secretary, succeeding Timothy F. Geithner, who was the last remaining principal from the original economic team that took office at the height of the global crisis in January 2009.”

“The White House is working with its allies on a well-financed campaign in Washington and around the country to shift public opinion toward stricter gun laws and provide political cover to lawmakers who end up voting for an assault-weapons ban or other restrictions on firearms,” the Washington Post writes.

The Washington Post’s Greg Sargent: “The powerful Financial Services Roundtable — which is headed by former GOP presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty and represents nearly 100 of the largest financial service firms in the country — is set to increase pressure on Congress to raise the debt limit, warning that failure to do so will make the markets go ‘haywire.’ ‘We are in favor of raising it, and we will be encouraging policy makers to increase it,’ Scott Talbott, the senior vice president for public policy for the Financial Services Roundtable, told me today. He added that the group was gearing up to communicate the demand for action to Congress, an effort that could include sending letters to every member. ‘We will communicate with the entire Congress,’ he said.”

And in the New Republic, Noam Scheiber argues that Obama – potentially – could have gotten a better deal from Republicans in the fiscal-cliff talks. “Because it turns out Obama made a critical if underappreciated mistake in the final hours of the back and forth: sending Joe Biden to haggle with Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell once McConnell's talks with his Democratic counterpart, Harry Reid, had broken down.”

More: “From my after-the-fact discussions with Democratic aides in the House and Senate leadership, it’s clear that Reid had a plan for resolving the cliff and considered the breakdown of his talks with McConnell very much a part of it. By involving Biden, Obama undercut Reid and signaled that he wanted a deal so badly he was unwilling to leave anything to chance, even when the odds overwhelmingly favored him. It suggested that even if Obama plays his cards exceedingly well in the run-up to the debt-limit showdown, he could still come away with a worse deal than he deserves because of his willingness to make concessions in the closing moments.”