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Bush to replace Treasury chief Snow

Written by: Staff

Washington, Apr 4: President George W Bush looks increasingly likely to replace Treasury Secretary John Snow and is considering former lawmakers and some Wall Street executives to succeed him, Republican sources said.

The Bush administration wants a more compelling figure than Snow to lead its effort to highlight the economy's strength in the hope of bolstering Republican chances in November's congressional elections, the sources said yesterday.

A Republican in frequent contact with the White House said there have been discussions about trying to attract Goldman Sachs Chief Executive Henry Paulson for the job, which would bring Wall Street savvy to the post.

A senior Senate staffer named US Trade Representative Rob Portman, a former congressmen, as another possible contender.

The Senate official said the White House is giving ''active consideration'' to replacing Snow, a wealthy former railroad executive who took over the top Treasury post in early 2003 after the dismissal of Paul O'Neill.

Snow's ability to stick to an administration script made a change from the vocal O'Neill, another former industrialist.

The White House was tight-lipped on the speculation.

''Our economy is strong and (Bush) appreciates the job that his economic team has done,'' said spokesman Scott McClellan.

The Treasury was equally reticent, with spokesman Tony Fratto declining to comment on personnel issues. He outlined an extensive schedule for Snow through mid-May.

DRUMBEAT But the drumbeat of speculation about a change at Treasury has gained intensity since Joshua Bolten was named last week to replace Andrew Card as White House chief of staff.

The New York Times cited an unidentified Republican as saying Bolten favored replacing Snow with someone who could more forcefully portray the strength of the economy.

CNN has reported Snow could be one of several top officials to go in the next few weeks.

At Goldman Sachs the 60-year-old ''Hank'' Paulson has heavyweight Wall Street credentials as well as ties to both Bolten and Vice President Dick Cheney.

A Goldman Sachs spokesman said Paulson was traveling and was unavailable for comment.


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