Background: Economic Picks
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RAY SUAREZ: President Bush filled the last vacancy on his economic team late this afternoon, naming Wall Street investment banker Stephen Friedman as his top economic adviser. Friedman replaces ousted National Economic Council Chief Lawrence Lindsey, who was pressured to resign last week, along with Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill. 64-year-old Stephen Friedman is currently a senior principal at Marsh McLennan Capital. He’s also a limited partner at banking giant Goldman Sachs, where he served as chairman for much of the ’90s early on with former Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin. Friedman serves on several orate boards, including Wal-mart and Fannie Mae.
PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: I selected Steve for his wide experience and steady and sound judgment. He understands the free enterprise system. He knows how the economy works, and he shares my objective for stronger economic growth, high standards of corporate integrity, more small businesses across our nation, and greater trade across the world. I will work with Steve and others on a growth and jobs package that we will present to the new Congress. In order to continue our economic recovery, we will propose further steps to add new jobs, reduce the burden on our taxpayers, and to strengthen investor confidence.
RAY SUAREZ: Friedman said he was looking forward to working with the other members of the Bush economic team.
STEPHEN FRIEDMAN: I look forward to working with them to achieve the goals of greater growth in the American economy and more jobs for the American people. As you’ve said, growth has returned to the American economy. We must increase the momentum of the recovery. Your administration entered office facing a recession. Your economic policies helped make it one of the shortest on record. Still, we must address pressure on family budgets and savings, the need to create more jobs, slow growth in our overseas export markets, and disappointing business investment. Faced with these challenges, I strongly share your conviction, sir, that now is the time for a robust growth and jobs policy. I also share your great confidence in the energy, the resilience and the creativity of American workers and businesses. Now is the time to help them achieve their full potential.
RAY SUAREZ: Earlier this week, the President tapped railroad executive John Snow as Treasury Secretary to replace Paul O’Neill; and William Donaldson, founder of a major investment firm, was chosen to succeed Harvey Pitt as chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, that resigned under fire on election day. Unlike those of Snow and Donaldson, Friedman’s appointment does not require Senate approval.