Politics & Media
Sep 15, 2009, 11:03AM

Inside the White House: A speechwriter's vantage point

A look at the last 22 months of Dubya's term.

“You mean the stock market?” I asked.“No, I mean the entire U.S. economy,” he replied. As in, capitalism. As in, hide your money in your mattress.The secretary of the treasury, Hank Paulson, had sketched out a dire scenario. And Chris said we’d have to write a speech for the president announcing his bold” plan to deal with the crisis. (The president loved the word bold.)We had to reassure the American people that everything was going to be okay. As it turned out, Secretary Paulson had a plan that would fix everything: a $700 billion bailout of the financial system. The plan, like the secretary himself (who’d been pretty much a nonperson at the White House), seemed to come out of nowhere, as if it had been hastily scribbled on a sheet of paper in the secretary’s car on his way to work. Basically, it could be summed up as: Give me hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars and then trust me to do the right thing.There was no denying it. This plan was certainly “bold.”


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