Obama praises Lew as 'master of policy'

“That is why when he was considering leaving a few years ago I had to personally get on my knees with Carol to convince him to stay on a little bit longer,” Obama said.

In picking Lew, Obama is elevating a trusted insider and budget expert to be his administration’s economic point man at a time when tax and spending fights are dominating Washington and financial sector reform is taking a back seat.

“Jack has my complete trust, I know I am not alone in that,” Obama said. “I hope the Senate will confirm him as quickly as possible.

“Over the years he has built a reputation as a master of policy who can work with both sides and forge bipartisan compromises,” Obama said.

As chief of staff, Lew was a central player in two failed attempts at a deficit grand bargain with House Republicans. The first effort came as the government negotiated a hike to the debt ceiling in August 2011, and the second took place last month as the nation teetered on a “fiscal cliff” of tax hikes and sending cuts scheduled for January.

For more on Lew's nomination, click here.