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Blank under consideration for White House economist

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama has interviewed Commerce Department official Rebecca Blank for the job of chief White House economist, a source familiar with the matter said on Thursday.

Blank, who has a doctorate in economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, would succeed longtime Obama aide Austan Goolsbee as chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers.

Goolsbee is leaving this summer to return to his teaching job at the University Chicago, leaving a key vacancy on Obama's team at a time when the concerns over the economy's health have grown amid an intensifying European debt crisis.

Blank is currently acting deputy secretary of the Commerce Department, effectively its chief operating officer, as well as under secretary for economic affairs.

Blank served on the three-member CEA during President Bill Clinton's administration.

(Writing by Caren Bohan; Editing by Eric Walsh)

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