(Washington Post) — The White House has no shortage of people working on economic policy — former executives, high-profile academic economists, masters of the budget. But one group of aides is emerging as highly influential as President Obama shifts the focus of his economic policy from crisis management to trying to stimulate and manage growth: the Domestic Policy Council, led by Melody Barnes. Barnes, a onetime top lawyer to the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.), and her team have navigated to the center of the administration’s economic strategy. They’ve helped to craft policies on education and clean energy, which Obama has said are key to securing the nation’s economic future — what he has called a “competitiveness” agenda. Obama recently appeared on Spanish-language television to promote his education policy. It was one of nearly a dozen appearances on the issue in the past month. He also recently spent two days discussing his vision on developing new clean energy. For Barnes, education, above all else, is the linchpin for economic and domestic policy.