Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich says President Bush should fire Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson as Congress struggles to deal with the ongoing financial crisis.
Appearing on Fox News’ “On the Record” Monday night, Gingrich told host Greta Van Susteren: “We want a way to work through this. But I think that it requires a very different approach than Secretary Paulson has been taking.”
Asked if Paulson is “the right guy” for the job, Gingrich responded: “No. I mean, I think that he must have been a terrific deal-maker at Goldman Sachs and a great chairman of Goldman Sachs, but I don't think that's the same job as being a secretary of the Treasury. And I think the president would be much better off if Undersecretary [Bob] Kimmet was now replacing Secretary Paulson.”
Gingrich opined that the bailout bill that failed to pass the House was “badly designed by Secretary Paulson,” and Paulson liked the idea, “as a former chairman of Goldman Sachs, that he would get to spend $700 billion and he wanted the power.”
He also said that “when Secretary Paulson sent up a proposal to allow him to spend $700 billion with no congressional oversight and with no judicial review … he created a negotiating environment that was hopeless.”
Gingrich was particularly critical of Paulson and the New York Federal Reserve’s earlier move, reported by The New York Times, to include Goldman Sachs’ chairman at a meeting about insurance giant AIG’s financial crisis.
“I don't understand how the president can avoid firing the Secretary of the Treasury when you have a former chairman of Goldman Sachs who wants to have unlimited ability to spend money, and you have the current chairman of Goldman Sachs, the only private-sector person in a room,” Gingrich told Van Susteren.
“Two weeks later, the U.S. government put up $85 billion to help AIG, in which Goldman Sachs has a $20 billion exposure…
“When the average American understands this, they are going to be so angry at this Congress if it passes a deal to give Secretary Paulson money…
“I think the president will be far better off to have Bob Kimmet up there, the undersecretary of the Treasury, negotiating this bill than he is to have Secretary Paulson.”
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