In ‘NYT’ on Sunday: Paul O’Neill Wonders if McCain is Able

By: E&P Staff

In an interview for this coming Sunday’s New York Times Magazine, former Bush administration Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill is asked what he thinks of Sen. John McCain’s confession that his grasp of economics is faint. “Yeah,” he replies. “That’s a great place to start from, isn’t it?”

Asked about McCain’s “straight talk” reputation, O’Neill responds, “I don’t want a straight talker. I want a leader.”

On his falling out with Vice President Cheney, O’Neill — who in the bestsellng book by Ron Suskind, “The Price of Loyalty,” was highly critical of certain aspects of the administration — now says that when they are at the same events the both do their best “to ignore each other.” They were both pallbearers as Gerald Ford’s funeral and never said a “hello.”

Does he feel bitter about serving in the Bush administration? He answers no, but quickly adds: “I’m thankful I got fired when I did, so that I didn’t have to be associated with what they subsequently did.”

He also admits that he has gotten better tables in New York restaurants because when he makes reservations they may think he is the former Yankee, Paul O’Neill.

NOTE: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that O’Neill had written a book critical of the admnistration, when that book, of course, was written by Ron Suskind.

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