Hank Paulson: Phone Lover

motorolabrick.jpgToday seems to be Hank Paulson day here at DealBreaker. The Observer ran a good profile on the incoming Treasury Secretary today, with details on his fly-fishing habits (catch and release). Meanwhile, over on Slate, Timothy Noah provides the details on Paulson’s political contributions (heavily Republican).
In light of what we’ve heard about Paulson leaving a sappy voicemail for Goldman’s employees yesterday, this older story from Fortune is particularly telling.

I’ve never used e-mail, but I’m a huge voicemail user. I do a couple hundred voicemails a day. And I return every call right away, whether it’s a client or someone in the firm. There are positives and negatives to this. I don’t have a lot of time for small talk.
Occasionally there are wing nuts who call, and I pass them on to Julie, my assistant. But Julie doesn’t screen my voicemails. The people at Goldman Sachs have to be able to get to me. Clients have to be able to get to me.
I’ve always spent a lot of time on the phone. Even when cell phones were a novelty in the 1980s when I lived in Chicago, I was using one of those huge Motorola phones as I walked from the train station to the office. This past Christmas, my wife, Wendy, and my daughter, Amanda, and her husband and I spent ten days hiking in Chile, and my daughter took so many pictures of me with this big satellite phone attached to my ear.

If anyone has yesterday’s voicemail and wants to send it our way, that would be like super. Actually, if you’ve got any Paulson voicemail you should send it to TIPS at

Secrets of greatness: How I work
[Fortune via CNN Money]

  • 31 May 2006 at 1:14 PM
  • Treasury

Snow’s Going: A Long Time Coming

Yesterday we were trying to remember just how long we had been hearing that Treasury Secretary John Snow was on his way out. Weeks? Months? A year? It feels like it’s been forever.
Actually, people have been talking about this at least since 2004! This Wall Street Journal story [subscription required] even lists Hank Paulson as a probable candidate for the job.

Fearing Hank Paulson

Not everyone is happy with the appointment of Goldman CEO Hank Paulson to takeover from John Snow as Treasury Secretary. Here is what the free-marketeers at the Competitive Enterprise Institute* had to say.

“No conservative administration should consider appointing anyone who works for the Nature Conservancy to any position and certainly not to one carrying the high responsibilities of Treasury Secretary. The financial scandals at the Nature Conservancy uncovered by the Washington Post are only the tip of the iceberg. The Nature Conservancy has served as the agent for turning millions of acres of productive private land into federally-owned land and has made huge profits doing so,” said CEI’s Director of Energy & Global Warming Myron Ebell. “The question that needs to be asked is, what will Mr. Paulson be able to do as Treasury Secretary to benefit the Nature Conservancy and its big corporate partners?”

Translation: Treehugger!
Trouble at Treasury: Paulson Wrong Choice for Secretary [CEI]
* Disclosure: John Carney’s brother Timothy P. Carney is the Warren T. Brookes Journalism Fellow at CEI. He did not contribute to the article discussed here.

  • 31 May 2006 at 10:54 AM
  • Treasury

Going Easy on Gross

dow36.jpgFor all we know, Slate’s Dan Gross is a totally a nice guy. So we’re going to stop picking on him. But not yet.
Just now, while reviewing those Treasury Secretary articles on Slate’s Moneybox, we noticed that each article has a “Related in Slate” section. The Related section for Gross’s original “No Wall Street A-Lister to Treasury” article had a snarky little aside pointing out that Gross’s record predicting things wasn’t exactly sterling.

Last week, John Dickerson wondered whether Josh Bolten would change anything at the Bush White House; in November 2004, Daniel Gross dissected John Snow’s strong-dollar statements. Last fall, Gross inaccurately predicted that Bush would name Glenn Hubbard to succeed Alan Greenspan as chairman of the Federal Reserve. In March, Gross pointed out that Morgan Stanley’s John Mack is one of the CEOs who receives income tax gross-ups.

The “Related in Slate” section for Gross’s latest article is a kinder, gentler version.

In April, Daniel Gross wrote about John Snow’s potential successors, and John Dickerson wondered whether Goldman Sachs alumnus Josh Bolten would change anything at the White House. In November 2004, Gross critiqued Snow’s strong-dollar statements. In January 2002, Tim Noah took Robert Rubin to task for discussing Enron’s travails with a treasury department official.

Maybe the interns (who presumably write those things) just felt bad for Gross.

  • 31 May 2006 at 10:24 AM
  • Treasury

Eating Your Words on the Cheap

dow36.jpgYesterday we poked fun at Daniel Gross, the Slate “Moneybox” writer who offered to eat the first chapter of Dow 36,000 if John Snow’s replacement was an “A-list Wall Street CEO.” You don’t get much more A-list than Hank Paulson, so we expect Gross to be digesting those pages soon.
Gross himself has now admitted his error, albeit while taking a weird swipe at the book he promised to devour.

In April, I said I’d eat the first chapter of Dow 36,000 if President Bush could convince a Wall Street big shot to succeed the flailing John Snow as treasury secretary. This morning, Bush nominated arguably the biggest of the big shots on Wall Street—Goldman Sachs CEO Henry Paulson. (At least it’ll be a cheap meal. Dow 36,000 is going used on for as little as four cents a copy.)

Well, sure you can buy a used copy for four cents. But would you really want to eat a used book? We imagine that books aren’t exactly the cleanest thing you can shove down your gullet. Wouldn’t it at least be a good idea to start with a new copy? Look, Daniel, if it’s a money issue you can relax. Our offer to buy you a copy, a new copy, still stands.

Good as Goldman