Paulson: I Was Afraid McCain Would Change Mind and Go Against TARP

Feb 2, 2010 11:48am

Former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson is promoting his new book "On the Brink: Inside the Race to Stop the Collapse of the Global Financial System."

In an interview I did with him for the Dartmouth Alumni Magazine (click here to read it) Paulson confesses that he was nervous that Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., would in the closing days of the election of 2008 announce his opposition to the Troubled Asset Relief Program.

"One of the critically necessary ingredients was having both presidential candidates back the TARP," he told me. "One of the more interesting things my book shows is that I had regular communication with both of them. But based upon some of the things that were said on the campaign trail, I didn’t take it as a given that either presidential candidate was going be supporting it. And I didn’t take it as a given when John McCain came back he was going to be supporting TARP."

Did you vote for him? I asked him.

"I tell a lot in my book, but that’s one thing I don’t disclose," Paulson said. "I’ll say this. I was very grateful and I continue to be to both candidates for not attacking TARP, for both being supportive, particularly near the end as McCain was falling behind. That was a gnawing worry on my mind the whole time. When I watched the presidential debates I did so with my heart in my throat."

I asked Paulson much more, including whether he feels responsible for not having seen more indicators that a major economic collapse was coming. Again, you can read more by clicking here.



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