Obama nominates Lew to lead Treasury

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama is announcing Treasury secretary nominee Jack Lew, pointing to his past work of balancing budgets during the Clinton administration.

The president says he feels "bittersweet" about losing Lew as his White House chief of staff but says "my loss will be the nation's gain."

He notes that Lew was budget director during the Clinton administration, when the budget ran a surplus for three years. Lew is taking over Treasury as the administration prepares for a new fight with congressional Republicans over the nation's debt and deficits.

If confirmed, he will replace Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, who led the department through the economic turmoil of the first term.

The President joked that Lew's nomination nearly fell through because of Lew's loopy signature. Lew's nomination means a new signature will be added to the dollar bill. Lew's starts off with a soft "J'' but is followed by seven loopy scribbles, making it difficult to read. Obama said at the nomination ceremony that he never noticed the signature before, even though Lew is his chief of staff. But after looking at it, quote, "I considered rescinding my offer to appoint him."

Obama says Lew promises to work to make one letter legible, quote,"in order not to debase our currency."

The treasury secretary's signature is emblazoned on the lower right corner of U.S. bills of all denominations.


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