Paulson Lost Some Cred

Demands and attitude have soured a once promising relationship between the administration and lawamakers
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 4, 2008 5:01 PM CDT
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (left) and Secretary of the Treasury Henry Paulson.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson may have gotten what he wanted from Congress on the Wall Street bailout, but his performance in selling the deal left lawmakers with a sour taste, the Wall Street Journal reports. Many think his original proposal, which would have granted him virtually unlimited powers, and his conduct in the hot seat, were presumptuous. But no matter: “For a few months, he will be more powerful than the president,” said Sen. Richard Shelby, a bailout critic.

“Paulson's arrogance is shown not only in how he treated rank-and-file members at the hearings, but in his original proposal, which has to be regarded as a ransom note,” a House member said. Paulson had spent years currying favor with legislators, but now even the public thinks of him as a doom and gloom opportunist. If he’d been more candid, “the plan would have passed through Congress like a hot knife through butter,” said Sen. Chuck Schumer.