Henry Paulson: Treasury Secretary Or Cheerleader?

President Bush, on the nomination of Henry M. Paulson as Treasury secretary, 5/30/06:

[W]hen he is confirmed by the Senate, he’ll be a superb addition to my Cabinet. … The Treasury Secretary is the leading force on my economic team and the chief spokesman for my economic policies.

Sound familiar?

On John Snow, 12/9/02:


He’ll be a superb member of my Cabinet. … I’ll be proposing specific steps to increase the momentum of our economic recovery, and the Treasury Secretary will be at the center of this effort.

On Paul O’Neill, 12/20/00:

The secretary of treasury is the chief financial officer of our nation, the successor to Alexander Hamilton. … I found such a man in Paul O’Neill.

Despite the talk, both were pushed out of the President’s inner circle and relegated to the role of administration cheerleader. O’Neill “found himself on the outs after he aggressively pushed an agenda of his own” and Snow “has had little to do but promote policies made by others and wave the flag for economic growth.”