Bush Chooses Paulson for Treasury; Goldman Sachs Executive Part of White House's 2nd-Term Shake-Up

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Byline: Joseph Curl, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

President Bush yesterday returned after a holiday weekend and picked up where he left off, building a new second-term team by nominating Goldman Sachs Chairman Henry M. Paulson to replace Treasury Secretary John W. Snow, who resigned after more than a year of speculation about his departure.

After a week of legislative victories - with the Senate confirming his nominees to head the CIA, Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and Interior Department, as well as a contentious judicial nominee opposed by Democrats - the president tapped the 32-year Wall Street veteran to sell the administration's economic policy.

"He has a lifetime of business experience. He has intimate knowledge of financial markets and an ability to explain economic issues in clear terms," Mr. Bush said of his nominee in an early morning Rose Garden announcement.

His path through the Senate was eased an hour later when Sen. Charles E. Schumer, New York Democrat and one of Mr. Bush's toughest critics, gave Mr. Paulson a vote of confidence.

"His experience, intelligence and deep understanding of national and global economic issues make him the best pick America could have hoped for," said Mr. Schumer, a member of the Senate Finance Committee.

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid was less supportive, saying, "Mr. Paulson will face many challenges if he is confirmed in steering our economy towards greater prosperity for all Americans. Working families are struggling under high gas prices, rising health care costs, and skyrocketing college tuition. .. I hope Mr. Paulson will share that goal."

The Senate committee is expected to take up the nomination quickly, with a hearing possible within a few weeks.

Mr. Paulson, who also is chief executive officer at Goldman Sachs, said in the Rose Garden that the U.S. economy is "truly a marvel, but we cannot take it for granted. We must take steps to maintain our competitive edge in the world. …