WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama has nominated Jack Lew as the Treasury's next secretary, pointing to his past work of balancing budgets during the Clinton administration.

The president says he feels "bittersweet" about losing Lew as his White House chief of staff but says "my loss will be the nation's gain."

He notes that Lew was budget director during the Clinton administration, when the budget ran a surplus for three years.

Lew is taking over Treasury as the administration prepares for a new fight with congressional Republicans over the nation's debt and deficits.

If confirmed, he will replace Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, who led the department through the economic turmoil of the first term.

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