Politics

Defying Critics, Obama Names Another Czar After Resignation of Environmental Adviser

As one White House "czar" departs amid a cloud of controversy, an undeterred President Obama is naming a new one to advise him on manufacturing, defying conservative critics who have raised concerns about these advisory positions that do not require congressional oversight. 

Obama chose a Labor Day union picnic on Monday as the backdrop to announce his selection of Ron Bloom, a member of his auto industry task force, as senior counselor for manufacturing policy. Bloom planned to travel to Cincinnati with Obama for an afternoon announcement at the AFL-CIO event.

The announcement follows the weekend resignation of Van Jones, the White House "green jobs czar" who had come under fire in recent weeks for past inflammatory statements, including one where he called Republicans "assholes," and his signature on a petition suggesting that the U.S. government played a role in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Republicans had been calling for Jones to resign and raising concerns about all the czars Obama has appointed --which by some accounts amount to more than 30.

Dana Perino, a White House spokeswoman for the Bush administration, told FOX News that presidents like to appoint czars because it can be hard to get political appointees confirmed by an increasingly partisan Congress.

"They have skirted around that process so there is no accountability for the czars," she said Monday. "Nobody has to go up and testify in front of Congress. They don't have to go through the process."

Bloom has already sidestepped congressional approval. He was senior adviser to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner as part of the auto industry task force since February. Bloom, a Harvard Business School graduate, previously advised the United Steelworkers union and worked as an investment banker.

Bloom will work with the National Economic Council to lead policy development and planning for Obama's work to revitalize U.S. manufacturing, the White House said.

Perino said she doesn't object to the White House focusing on revitalizing the battered manufacturing industry.

"The National Economic Council, which is part of the White House with a seat right inside the West Wing, that's what their job is supposed to be," she said. "I'm not clear as to why they have to add all these additional layers."

Author and journalist Ronld Kessler, a national security expert, said Obama's lack of management experience is starting to catch up with him.

"You're seeing a White House in disarray," he said, citing the contentious debate over health care reform and the decision to close the Guantanamo Bay prison without finding a place to send the detainees. "He is not exactly a model CEO."

Obama's speech to union members was the first of at least three speeches this week. His remarks Monday were expected to touch on health care in advance of a Wednesday evening address to Congress on his proposed overhaul. On Tuesday, Obama will speak to American children as they begin the school year.

The AFL-CIO Labor Day picnic normally draws up to 20,000 people, union spokesman Eddie Vale said. AFL-CIO president John Sweeney and secretary-treasurer Richard Trumka were expected to welcome Obama to the gathering.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.