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Obama and O'Neill, Mutual Fans

By Jonathan Weisman
Former Treasury secretary Paul H. O'Neill may have shown up to Sen. Barack Obama's economic pow-wow today at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C., but he does not, repeat, does not, endorse the Democrat running for the White House.

He just likes him.

O'Neill cemented his reputation during Bush's first term by speaking his own mind, ruffling feathers and crossing swords with the president. His tell-all book, "The Price of Loyalty," cast the administration as a circle of blind political hacks. But that does not mean he's ready to change parties. In an interview, he said he will not endorse either Obama or presumptive Republican nominee Sen. John McCain. Initially, he was inclined to turn down the invitation to today's economic forum. He was, after all, traveling in Germany and Hungary last week.

But when the former ALCOA CEO heard that former Clinton Treasury secretaries Robert Rubin and Larry Summers, as well as former Bush Securities and Exchange Commissioner William Donaldson would be there, he decided "that was good company." Donaldson has endorsed Obama.

O'Neill was a little disappointed to find there were 30 people around the table, not four.

He did find "a very likable, very personable guy," even if he is withholding his endorsement.

"He shook my hand and said he was always a great fan," O'Neill confided. "How can you not like someone who says he's a fan?"

By Web Politics Editor  |  July 28, 2008; 6:03 PM ET
Categories:  John McCain  
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O'Neill was a man who I trusted while he was in Treasury, did not read his book. When he was replaced by Snow I felt that there was a man who blended in with the mediocrity of Bush cabinet. It is only in the Bush era that an independent, competent man of integrity is a Benedict Arnold. Only a man who lied as a profession would assimilate Bush's world so completely.

Posted by: Gator-ron | July 28, 2008 9:10 PM | Report abuse

I don't even "hate" thebob.bob : )

Posted by: JakeD | July 28, 2008 7:41 PM | Report abuse

"His tell-all book, "The Price of Loyalty," cast the administration as a circle of blind political hacks."

And he was absolutely, 100% correct, and it becomes more and more obvious everyday. What a mess.

Posted by: thebob.bob | July 28, 2008 7:34 PM | Report abuse

I don't "hate" anyone.

Posted by: JakeD | July 28, 2008 6:34 PM | Report abuse

JakeD...don't hate the player, hate the game!

Obama in 08!

Posted by: Obama-Junkie | July 28, 2008 6:20 PM | Report abuse

Fine. Benedict Arnold is NOT endorsing Obama. Breaking news, I guess.

Posted by: JakeD | July 28, 2008 6:12 PM | Report abuse

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