Hey, Congress, Hank Paulson Thinks You’re Idiots

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With the exception of Nancy Pelosi, who the former Treasury secretary Hank Paulson tells Todd Purdum at Vanity Fair “was a wonder” during those tough months last September, “available 24-7, any time I called her on the cell phone,” and Barney Frank, whom he gets on with, though “I just wish he were a Republican,” Paulson has little respect for Congress. While he was sitting on the Hill during the hearings last fall, the Hammer, as he was known back at Dartmouth, was thinking pretty much exactly what we imagined he was thinking: (a) Don’t tell the truth, whatever you do, and (b) These people are freaking imbeciles.


“The thing that scared me was not a question I didn’t know the answer to. Just say, ‘I don’t know.’ The thing that scared me was some question that I knew, and answered correctly, and I’d be in deep doo-doo!” As his tenure wore on, Paulson confessed, “I amuse myself a lot by sitting there sometimes and thinking what would happen if I said, ‘Do you realize what an idiotic question that is?’ ”

Purdum doesn’t get details from the former Treasury secretary, but we imagine that he probably landed on the same scenario we ourselves have imagined, which is that Michael Capuano would go straight into a Joe Pesci “I'm here to fuckin’ amuse you? Am I a clown?” impression from Goodfellas, and Maxine Waters’ head would crack open, shooting grape-flavored Pez across chambers and straight into the gaping maw of Elihaj Cummings.

Henry Paulson’s Longest Night [VF]