GATA press release questions World Gold Council''s bullion fund

Section:

By Richard W. Stevenson
The New York Times
Monday, December 6, 2004

http://www.nytimes.com/2004/12/06/politics/06cabinet.html

WASHINGTON -- President Bush has decided to
replace John W. Snow as treasury secretary and
has been looking closely at a number of possible
replacements, including the White House chief of
staff, Andrew H. Card Jr., Republicans with ties
to the White House say.

With the White House having said on Friday that
Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld would stay
on for Mr. Bush's second term, Mr. Snow is the only
secretary at a major cabinet department whose fate
has not been publicly addressed. Administration
officials and advisers had been signaling for weeks
that Mr. Snow was likely to depart eventually but left
open the possibility that he might stay on well into
next year.

But in recent days, administration officials have been
hinting that Mr. Snow will go sooner rather than later.
And an adviser to the White House, speaking on the
condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of
the topic, said on Sunday that a firm decision had
been made to replace Mr. Snow as soon as Mr. Bush
could settle on a successor.

Mr. Bush has already announced plans to thoroughly
overhaul his cabinet. Eight cabinet secretaries,
including Secretary of State Colin L. Powell and
Attorney General John Ashcroft, have announced their
resignations, and more, like Norman Y. Mineta, the
transportation secretary, are expected to go in the
next week or two.

Treasury secretary is a high-profile job, and one likely
to be especially prominent in the next few years if Mr.
Bush makes good on his pledge to press for big
changes to Social Security and a rethinking of the tax
code.

The White House has announced plans for an
economic forum on Dec. 15 and 16 in Washington to
focus attention on the president's second-term agenda,
and administration officials have made no secret of their
belief that they need a reconstituted economic team to
sell Mr. Bush's plan on Capitol Hill and to voters.

Conservative interest groups and some other
Republicans in Washington have been pressing the
White House to consider Phil Gramm, the former
Republican senator from Texas who was an economics
professor before getting into politics.

The adviser to the White House said Mr. Gramm was
under consideration, but that the prospects of him
getting the job were unclear. Mr. Gramm is currently
an executive with UBS, a securities firm.

Mr. Card, who was transportation secretary under the
president's father, has been at Mr. Bush's side almost
every working moment for four years, having been
appointed chief of staff even before the disputed 2000
election was settled.

It was Mr. Card who whispered into Mr. Bush's ear on
Sept. 11, 2001, that the nation was under a terrorist
attack, and since then he has had a hand in nearly
every big political and policy decision made by the
White House.

Mr. Bush announced immediately after Election Day
that Mr. Card would stay on as chief of staff, but Mr.
Card is said by some Republicans to be very
interested in the treasury job. Mr. Bush has already
nominated several loyalists in White House staff
positions to top cabinet posts, including Condoleezza
Rice, the national security adviser, as secretary of
state, and Alberto R. Gonzales, who would shift to
attorney general from White House counsel.

Republicans who have spoken to administration
officials said other candidates are also being
considered to replace Mr. Snow, including Gerald L.
Parsky, a wealthy lawyer and venture capitalist who
served as an assistant treasury secretary in the Ford
administration.

It is not clear how close Mr. Bush is to a decision on
a replacement for Mr. Snow or if he has already made
one.

Mr. Snow, an economist and formal railroad executive
who was named treasury secretary two years ago after
Mr. Bush ousted Paul H. O'Neill from the job, has
deflected all questions in recent weeks about a
possible departure, with he and his aides saying he
serves at the pleasure of the president.

"The secretary views his service to the president as
an honor and a privilege," said Robert Nichols, Mr.
Snow's spokesman. Mr. Nichols added, "We don't
comment on personnel speculation and rumors."

As speculation that Mr. Snow will leave has
intensified, the White House, when asked about him
by reporters, has pointedly declined to give him a
public vote of confidence.

Mr. Snow has been a workhorse for the White House
this year, selling Mr. Bush's economic plan nationwide
during the presidential campaign and to Congress
during legislative battles.

But he upset some White House officials with a remark
this fall in Ohio, the most important battleground of the
campaign and a state that had suffered especially
intense economic woes in recent years, that job losses
were a myth.

Mr. Snow later said he had been misinterpreted.

Under Mr. Bush, economic policy has been made
largely within the White House, and cabinet secretaries,
including Mr. Snow, have been primarily salesmen. But
the president's plans for revising Social Security and the
tax code give the next treasury secretary a chance to
put an imprint on two of the most important economic
issues facing the nation.

Mr. Bush plans to appoint a commission this month to
suggest changes to the tax code and to deliver a report
to the treasury secretary next year. Under Mr. Bush's
plan, the treasury secretary would then make
recommendations to the White House on how to
proceed.

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