McCain Names Buffett, Whitman as Possible Treasury Picks

DENVER (Reuters) – Republican presidential candidate John McCain listed investor Warren Buffett and former eBay chief Meg Whitman as potential Treasury secretaries in his administration but declined to say on Wednesday if he would consider asking current Secretary Henry Paulson to stay.

McCain, in an interview with Reuters, noted that Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke had a “set term” and said as president he would decide whether to reappoint Bernanke based on economic conditions at the time.

The U.S. financial crisis and $700 billion Wall Street bailout bill has heightened interest in who would steer Treasury in the next administration.

“I think it would be someone that Americans would recognize that would inspire trust and confidence,” the Arizona senator said of his potential pick for the office. “There’s people like (Cisco chief executive) John Chambers, there’s people like Meg Whitman, there’s people like Warren Buffett,” he continued, adding that those people could serve in one of many jobs that would need to be filled.

When asked about Bernanke’s performance during the U.S. financial crisis, McCain said: “He has a set term, so I certainly would have to look again at the overall situation as it exists at the time when I would be making those selections, but the fact is that he is in a term of office.”

(Reporting by Jeff Mason, editing by David Alexander)