Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Purdum on Paulson

Todd Purdum strikes again with an excellent profile of Hank Paulson in this month's Vanity Fair.

The interviews were conducted over a 15 months with the understanding that the article would be embargoed until after Paulson left office. The result is an interesting look into the mindset of the Treasury Secretary during the biggest financial meltdown since the Great Depression.

Paulson wouldn't criticize lawmakers by name but was clearly frustrated with Republicans who would reassure him in private and publicly attack his plans.

Interestingly, life-long Republican and former Nixon aid Paulson has much praise for both Speaker Pelosi --“Nancy Pelosi to me was a wonder in this deal, and she was available 24-7, anytime I called her on the cell phone" -- and admiration for Barney Frank,
As I look back over our conversations, one man whose name comes up frequently and stands out as an exception to everything that left Paulson cold about Washington’s way of doing business is Barney Frank,...“This is a guy that’s got the intellect, he’s got the energy, he cares, and he wants to legislate, knows how to legislate,” Paulson said. “He’s interested in getting across the finish line. Now, I just wish he were a Republican and we all shared the same policy principles, and you’d cut a wide swath!”
One last excerpt that also includes Frank. On September 29 of last year, House Republicans had defeated the TARP bill which has been hammered out over a weekend,
Paulson and administration officials were shocked, though Barney Frank read the situation correctly, as Paulson recalled: “He said, ‘Well, sometimes, you know, kids have got to run away from home and be hungry before they come back.’ ” Four days later, the runaways came home, and a barely revised version of the program passed. “It was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done, to go up there, to go through these hearings, which are all about … it’s entertainment, and it’s speaking to the people back home, and it’s sound bites. And to be doing that at the same time you’re trying to negotiate something this important was exhausting.”

No comments: