Treasury Secretary Short List: Lawrence Summers

"I think moving beyond a 'trust the market no matter what, what's best for Wall Street is what's best for America' approach to the financial markets is important if the economy is to work," Summers told Portfolio earlier this year. "That's what Sen. Obama favors."

In his regular column for the Financial Times, Summers offered a prescription for a new regulatory order, including reducing the number of financial system regulators, focusing government efforts on maintaining the health of the entire system instead of the practices of individual companies and making sure financial firms do not get "too big to fail."

Summers has made several public appearances lately, focusing his remarks on the roots of the current economic crisis and what it means for the United States in the future, leading many people to believe he's the right man for what is arguably the most difficult job in all of government service.

"Larry can be brilliant, pedantic and arrogant," said economist Diane Swonk in a report she wrote after seeing Summers address the National Association of Business Economics (NABE) in October. "Ask anyone who had to work with him when he was Treasury secretary in the late 1990s. But that was then and this is now. He showed NABE that he could be self-deprecating, humble and wise. He showed us he could be a good leader, something that has been missing from the political arena for some time."

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