George Bush and Hank Paulson agreed that the President should stay out of the tough negotiations over the Wall Street bailout last fall, according to the latest attempt to explain the mysterious relationship between the two men.
Todd Purdman writes in Vanity Fair that having Paulson in front while keeping Bush in the shadows was part of the administration’s stragegy. This contradicts the already contradictory storylines advanced by both James Stewart (who portrayed Bush as distracted and tired) and White House speech writer Matt Latimer (who claimed that Paulson pushed Bush aside in a powergrab).
“Bush was a non presence… Paulson told me that this strategy had been deliberate – that having the President involved simply would have been counter productive, and the President himself knew it. “Given the political dynamics, given where we were in the electoral, given his relationship, you know, with the people up there, he said to me, ‘You will be more successful if we do it this way.’ The President didn’t have the stick to get some of the things we would have liked to have gotten.”‘
We may have to wait until Paulson’s book comes out till we get to the bottom of this.
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