John Snow as Secretary of the Treasury
Dwight D. Eisenhower Executive Office Building
December 9, 2002
11:00 A.M. EST
THE PRESIDENT: Good morning. Today I'm pleased to announce my nominee for the
Secretary of the Treasury. John Snow has excelled as a business leader, an expert
on economic policy, an academic, and as a public servant. He'll be a superb
member of my Cabinet.
I also want to welcome Carolyn here today. Thank you for coming. I'm honored
As we look to a new year and a new Congress, John Snow will be a key advisor
on the economy and a key advocate for my administration's agenda for growth,
new jobs and wider and more international trade.
I'll be proposing specific steps to increase the momentum of our economic recovery,
and the Treasury Secretary will be at the center of this effort. I appreciate
John's willingness to serve our country.
In a varied and productive career, John Snow has shown consistent qualities
of foresight and integrity and public spirit. He's led one our nation's largest
railroads with skill and success. He knows firsthand how the economy works.
His peers elected him to lead the Business Roundtable, where he was an articulate
voice for pro-growth policies.
John has a deep, long-standing commitment to ethical corporate governance. And
as the co-chairman of an important commission on public trust and private enterprise,
he holds a Ph.D. in economics and has taught in the field. He served in the
executive branch under two Presidents.
John returns to public service at an important moment for our economy. Inflation
is firmly under control, which keeps the cost of food, clothing and other necessities
more affordable. Mortgage rates interest remain at historic lows, making home
prices more reasonable for millions of Americans. A 5.6 percent increase in
productivity over the last four quarters is the biggest of any comparable period
since 1973. And growth has returned to the American economy.
Yet, we also face specific challenges that could slow the recovery and limit
future growth. Parts of America are expecting -- are experiencing persistent
unemployment. Many Americans have very little money leftover after taxes. Some
struggle under a weight of debt that makes is difficult to save for retirement.
Investor confidence needs to be strengthened in practical ways.
The new Congress will have a responsibility to address these challenges. My
administration will make specific proposals as how best to address these challenges.
I look forward to working with John Snow, as we move forward on a growth and
jobs package. He and I share a basic conviction: we believe the strength of
our economy lies in the unmatched enterprise and creativity and hard work of
the America people.
It is the task of government to create an environment in which these qualities
are rewarded and where jobs are generated, especially by small businesses in
America. My administration has acted on these principles, and we will continue
to do so. John will be the senior member of a new economic team.
From the day I took office, I've been fortunate to have outstanding economic
advisors at the Treasury Department and in the White House. I'm deeply grateful
to Secretary Paul O'Neill and Dr. Larry Lindsey for their leadership, particularly
in the aftermath of September the 11th, 2001. They share credit for an historic
tax relief and other economic policies that moved our economy from recession
Paul and Larry are two of the most fine, honorable, decent men I've ever served
with. They can be proud for all they have done for their country.
There is important work ahead to bring greater economic growth in the new year.
This economy is strong, and we can make it stronger. I'm eager for the task,
and so is our next Secretary of the Treasury. And I hope the United States Senate
will act quickly to confirm John Snow.
MR. SNOW: Thank you, Mr. President. Thank you very much, Mr. President, for
those very kind and generous comments. I'm both humbled and deeply honored by
your decision selecting me as your Secretary of the Treasury. Should the United
States Senate confirm me, I look forward to joining your economic team to advance
a pro-growth, pro-jobs agenda.
As you noted, this is an important moment for the economy. Thanks to your leadership
and this administration's stewardship of the economy during a tough time, the
recession was one of the shortest and shallowest in modern, economic history.
Yet, I strongly share your view that we cannot be satisfied until everyone --
every single person who is unemployed and seeking a job -- has an opportunity
to work. I pledge to you to use all my talents, my power, my energy and my ability
to strengthen the current economic recovery and create an environment where
millions of job-creators -- those small businesses and partnerships and medium-sized
businesses and large businesses -- and investors, all across America, will grow
I also understand the importance of working closely with other countries to
build and maintain a prosperous, growing and stable global economy as we successfully
prosecute the war on terror.
Mr. President, 25 years ago I left government service with the hope that one
day I might be able to return. You have given me an opportunity to do so, and
I intend to make the most of it. Thank you very much.
THE PRESIDENT: Congratulations, sir. Welcome. (Applause.)