Hank Paulson’s Valley of the Dolls Moment

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Photo: Mary-Louise Price; Photos: 20th Century Fox, Brendan Hoffman/Getty

We've heard a little about the physical toll shepherding America through the initial stages of the financial crisis took on former Treasury secretary Hank Paulson, and we don't think he's less of a man for it. What man, even one so broad of shoulder, hoarse of voice, and brute of strength as the former Dartmouth football player, would not buckle over and "audibly, violently, and repeatedly" throw up when the destruction of the universe as he knows it appears to be hurtling at his face at a bajillion miles an hour? But what we didn't know is that at one point, as Paulson reveals in his upcoming memoir, On the Brink, the devout Christian Scientist almost turned to pills.

The WSJ describes the scene thusly:

In another scene, an exhausted, stressed-out Mr. Paulson wrestled with taking a sleeping pill, a move that would have violated his religious beliefs. He instead flushed it down the toilet, deciding "to rely on prayer, placing my trust in a higher power."


So that's why Paulson didn't know anything about the decision to pay AIG's counterparties 100 cents on the dollar. It's because GOD took over during that transaction, and made Goldman et al whole so that they could continue doing His work. It all makes sense now.

Paulson, in Memoir, Defends Bailout [WSJ]