Summit Notebook

Exclusive outtakes from industry leaders

No time for fun for White House officials

September 22, 2010

WASHINGTON-SUMMIT/While senators like Lamar Alexander have time to play classical piano with the symphony or attend sporting events, some people in Washington don’t have as much time for fun or relaxation.

Take Austan Goolsbee, the new chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, who until recently worked as a member of the council and a long-time economic adviser to Obama.

Goolsbee used to compete in triathlons. Now he jokes that he is so out of shape he can hardly make it up the stairs without losing his breath.

“I stopped working out completely when I got here,” Goolsbee told the Reuters Washington Summit. Now I can’t walk up the stairs without going a-huff, a-huff, a-huff,” he said as he made the sounds of someone gasping for air.

Of course the trim Goolsbee — who doesn’t look at all like he would be panting for air going up the stairs — is also a jokester.

Though he claims he is not very good, he lists “improv” as well as triathlons as his extracurricular activities. Last year he won the Funniest Celebrity in Washington Contest, though in self-deprecating humor he dismissed the honor saying the competition was not tough, noting that one of his opponents was “Joe the Plumber.”

Remember him? He’s the man who became a Republican icon after challenging Obama on the economy during the 2008 election campaign.

(Photo credit: REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque)

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