The widely-reported rift between George Bush and Hank Paulson never actually existed, a reader familiar with the matter tells us. It is a figment of the imaginations of journalists and political operatives who were out of the loop themselves.
“The Bush-Paulson relationship was fine,” the reader says.
Yesterday we reported that two different accounts of last year’s financial crisis agreed that Paulson was making economic policy with little input from the President. But the accounts differed as to the cause of this situation. According to James Stewart of the New Yorker, this was because Bush was tired and distracted by two stressful terms and the ongoing war in Iraq. According to Matt Latimer writing in GQ, Paulson had pushed Bush out of the way.
“Latimer has recollection issues,” the reader tells us. “He’s a very minor guy who is using this to make a name for himself. He doesn’t know what he’s talking about.”
According to our reader, what Latimer and Stewart missed was the role of Josh Bolten. A former Goldman Sachs banker who was serving as chief of staff for the president, Bolten served as the intermediary between Bush and Paulson. Many news stories say Paulson was selected as Treasury Secretary at Bolten’s urging.
“Bolten was beloved and trusted by Bush and convinced Bush that Paulson was the man for Sec Treasury. Bush was impressed by Paulson and was a huge fan of Bernanke and Bush (wisely) gave Paulson and Bernanke wide authority to make policy and cut deals on the fly in an incredibly fast-moving environment,” our reader writes.