Robert Novak

 WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Retention of John Snow as secretary of the treasury was viewed in the Capital's inner circles as a defeat for presidential adviser Karl Rove, who wanted a high-profile manager of President Bush's second-term economic program.
Two Wall Street executives were approached as Snow's possible successor, but neither expressed any interest. Without a ready replacement, it was decided at the White House to relieve Snow from his uncertainty and keep him in office.

 Bush's hand was forced by a Wall Street Journal lead editorial Wednesday calling for "a stronger Treasury" and boosting former Sen. Phil Gramm. Anticipating continued pressure for specific Treasury candidates, it was decided to stick with Snow for now.


 Sources at the Federal Reserve Board close to Chairman Alan Greenspan admit he made "an uncharacteristically poor choice of words" in Frankfurt, Germany, recently when his remarks accelerated the dollar's fall. Greenspan was described by his colleagues as trying to warn against exposed financial positions based on the expectation of perpetually low interest rates. Instead, his impromptu comments sounded like a warning of impending financial crisis.

 Breaking normal civility between central bankers, European Central Bank officials are furious with Greenspan for what they considered talking up the already excessively strong euro.


 National Republican planners feel that Rep. Katherine Harris, attacked nationally by Democrats as the villain of the 2000 recount when she was Florida's secretary of state, is the GOP's strongest candidate against Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson in 2006.

 Harris has not been a controversial member of Congress since her election in 2002, and President Bush's comfortable re-election margin has quieted outrage over her role in the 2000 recount. With Gov. Jeb Bush ruling himself out of the Senate race, Harris is the best-known potential Republican candidate.

 A footnote: The appointment of Nebraska Gov. Mike Johanns as secretary of agriculture does not take Democratic Sen. Ben Nelson off the hook for re-election in 2006. Although Johanns would have been an overwhelming favorite in the Senate race, Nelson is in trouble in the heavily Republican state no matter who opposes him. Nelson has begun reaching out to conservative groups. A likely Republican candidate is State Attorney General Jon Bruning.


Robert Novak

Robert Novak (1931-2009) was a syndicated columnist and editor of the Evans-Novak Political Report.

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