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Obama, Biden name additional staff

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CHICAGO — Vice President-elect Joe Biden on Friday named Jared Bernstein as his chief economic policy adviser, a new post created as the nation faces a recession.

Bernstein, a senior economist at the liberal Economic Policy Institute, has been an informal economic adviser to President-elect Barack Obama's campaign. He also served as deputy chief economist under Labor Secretary Robert Reich during the Clinton administration.

Also on Friday, Obama picked Christina M. Tchen to serve as White House director of public liaison. He named Michael Strautmanis as the chief of staff to Valerie Jarrett, who is the assistant to Obama for intergovernmental relations and public liaison.

In a written statement, Biden called Bernstein a "proven, passionate advocate for raising the incomes of middle-class families.

"His expertise and background in a wide range of domestic and international economic policies will be an invaluable asset to the Obama-Biden administration," Biden said.

Bernstein holds a bachelor's degree in fine arts, master's degrees in social work and philosophy and a doctorate in social welfare.

Tchen, a business lawyer, serves on the board of the Chicago Bar Foundation. She has represented public agencies such as the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services in state and federal class actions.

Strautmanis and the Obamas have a history. He first worked as a paralegal for Obama's wife, Michelle, at a Chicago law firm. He later served as chief counsel and deputy chief of staff to Barack Obama when he was in the Senate. Strautmanis also worked for the Obama campaign.