Wednesday, Nov. 05, 2008

Larry Summers

Reportedly, Summers is one of Obama's leading picks for Treasury Secretary. "He understands financial markets very well," says Bernstein. "He makes a lot of sense." And he has experience, having served as Treasury Secretary under President Clinton. What's more, he was early in identifying the growing financial problems on Wall Street as a crisis, and in calling for a bailout. And unlike the current Treasury plan, Summers advocated more direct help for struggling homeowners by giving them tax breaks or other means of financial support.

Politically, Summers has been a vocal Obama supporter and served as an advisor to the Illinois Senator's presidential campaign. But as a former Clinton appointee, Summers may not be seen as offering a big enough break from the past. Also, he was the head of the Treasury during the Asian financial crisis, and may be faulted by some for not having done more to prevent future Wall Street meltdowns. Finally, Summers has been known to make ill-advised comments, like the gaffe he committed in 2005 as President of Harvard when he said that women were not genetically equipped to excel at science and math.

See pictures of Barack Obama's campaign behind the scenes.