NationalJournal.com – Obama Tried to Placate Liberal Economists – At a White House news conference on December 7 in which he announced a deal to extend the Bush tax cuts, Barack Obama chastised his liberal base for sticking unrealistically to their “purist” positions. What the president didn’t say was that a few hours earlier he had met with and tried to assauge some his most vociferous liberal critics — economists Paul Krugman, Joseph Stiglitz, Jeffrey Sachs, Alan Blinder, and Robert Reich, the former Labor secretary. In what two participants describe as a somewhat-argumentative one-hour discussion, Obama tried to convince the group that his compromise would deliver more bang for the buck to the economy and to people most in need of help than any other politically feasible option. Alongside Obama were Austan Goolsbee, the chairman of his Council of Economic Advisors, and Jared Bernstein, Vice President Joe Biden’s chief economist. Bernstein is considered a left-of-center economist, as is Goolsbee to some extent.