Ted Butler: Facts and speculation

Section:

By Terrence Hunt
Associated Press
Tuesday, May 30, 2006

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060530/ap_on_go_pr_wh/white_house_shake_
up

WASHINGTON -- Treasury Secretary John Snow has resigned and will be
replaced by Goldman Sachs Chairman Henry M. Paulson Jr., a senior
administration official said Tuesday, in another chapter of a White
House shake-up to revive President Bush's troubled presidency.

Bush was to announce the changes in a White House ceremony later
Tuesday.

Snow, the former head of railroad giant CSX Corp. who has a Ph.D. in
economics, has been Treasury secretary since February 2003. His
departure has been rumored for more than a year.

Paulson has been chairman of Goldman Sachs for about eight years. It
is considered one of the premier financial firms on Wall Street and
has sent a number of its top executives to high positions in
Washington.

Robert Rubin, one of Paulson's predecessors, served as Treasury
secretary in the Clinton administration, and Jon Corzine, another
Goldman Sachs chairman, served as a U.S. senator from New Jersey and
is now governor of that state.

Speculation that Paulson would take over from Snow increased after
Bush shook up his White House staff earlier this year, replacing
Andrew Card as his chief of staff with Joshua Bolten, a former
Goldman Sachs executive who had worked with Paulson.

Card's departure was followed by a string of other personnel moves
as Bush sought to reinvigorate his presidency, mired in the lowest
approval ratings since he took office in 2001. Among other changes,
Bush forced out CIA chief Porter Goss, trimmed the portfolio of
political adviser Karl Rove and replaced press secretary Scott
McClellan.

Snow has called Paulson "a very able executive, a friend of mine."

Paulson is also a millionaire many times over. Last year, the
Goldman Sachs group said it paid Paulson $30 million in total
compensation in 2004 -- almost a 40 percent gain from the year
before.

In tapping Paulson for the Treasury job, the administration is
seeking a more effective spokesman to tout Bush's economic
accomplishments of low unemployment and solid economic growth.

White House officials believed that a Wall Street executive with
Paulson's talents could better make the case for the
administration's economic program.

Paulson is leaving Goldman Sachs at a time when its stock is trading
at historic highs and with his chosen successor, Lloyd C. Blankfein,
ready to take over.

Paulson was known on Wall Street for his dedicated support of
environmental causes. Earlier this year, he made a gift of $100
million in Goldman stock to a family foundation dedicated to
conservation and environmental education. Even after that gift,
Paulson has a net worth estimated at more than $500 million.

Paulson, who was known to favor bird-watching in New York's Central
Park to playing golf, is chairman of the Nature Conservancy and the
chairman emeritus of the Peregrine Fund.

Last year Goldman Sachs donated 680,000 acres in Chile to the
Wildlife Conservation Society.

Snow has been Treasury secretary since February 2003. He took over
for Paul O'Neill, who was forced to resign because of policy
disagreements with the White House.

Snow has been a loyal proponent of the administration's economic
policies, traveling the country as a salesman for Social Security
reform and an overhaul of the tax code. But his standing suffered as
both proposals stalled.

Financial disclosure forms have put Snow's estimated worth at
between $43 million and $128 million. Two years ago he acknowledged
an error of more than $10 million in his investment portfolio that
caused him to lose nearly half a million dollars.

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