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President Bush Taps Railway Chief As New Treasury Secretary

BY Admin  December 9, 2002 at 2:42 PM EDT

The president said, ”John Snow has excelled as a business leader, an expert on economic policy, an academic, and as a public servant.”

“He’ll be a superb member of my Cabinet.”

An economist and lawyer by training, Snow has run CSX Corp., the transportation conglomerate which operates the largest rail freight network in the eastern United States, since 1991.

Snow accepted the president’s nomination, saying he was “both humbled and deeply honored by [the president's] decision.”

“Should the United States Senate confirm me, I look forward to joining your economic team to advance a pro-growth, pro-jobs agenda,” Snow said.

If confirmed by the Senate, Snow will replace O’Neill, the former ALCOA chief who abruptly resigned last Friday amid criticism for his failure to effectively promote the White House’s economic policies.

The 63-year-old railway chief previously served as an assistant secretary and undersecretary at the Transportation Department in the Ford administration during the mid-1970s.

Snow was also head of the Business Roundtable, an association representing the chief executives of the nation’s largest companies in national policy debates. He presently serves on the board of directors of Circuit City Stores, Inc., Johnson & Johnson, the United States Steel Corporation, and Verizon Communications, according to current CSX financial statements.

CSX’s annual report said Snow earned $2.2 million in salary in 2001 and $11 million in bonuses.

Snow’s first major task will be to sell the president’s upcoming economic package, which includes a number of tax cuts, to Congress and Wall Street investors. President Bush plans to unveil the stimulus plan as early as late December.

Mr. Bush nominated Snow just three days after O’Neill and national economic adviser Larry Lindsey resigned amid a shake-up of the White House economic team. Their departures come as the Bush administration seeks to rekindle support for its fiscal policies, which, key Democratic leaders say, are failing to improve the nation’s ailing economy.

Former Vice President Al Gore, who campaigned against Mr. Bush in the 2000 presidential election, said on ABC’s This Week that O’Neill and Lindsey were “fall guys for [the Bush administration's] failed policies.”

Democrats said that the Bush administration shake-up was evidence that its tax cut plan was not helping the economy.

“It isn’t the names, but the plan that is of concern to us,” Sen. Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) said in response to Snow’s nomination. “It wasn’t necessarily the people that he had in place in the last two years, it’s the plan. Trickle-down economics doesn’t work.”

Later this week, President Bush is expected to name Stephen Friedman, a former co-chairman of investment firm Goldman Sachs, as Lindsey’s replacement, although officials said the president’s decision is not yet final, the Associated Press reported Monday.