THE FORMER TREASURER ON
THE FORMER TREASURY SECRETARY
For all her energy, for all the power of her uplifting personal story, Republican U.S. Senate hopeful Rosario Marin can't seem to catch a break these days.
First it was the decision by her former boss Pete Wilson to endorse her chief opponent, Bill Jones, in the March 2 primary. Then came the decision by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to throw his support to Jones, which he is scheduled to do today at a press conference in Los Angeles.
In between those two events came another development that might take some of the luster off Marin's otherwise impressive ballot designation, at least among Republican primary voters.
Marin's most noteworthy political claim to fame is that she was appointed by President Bush to be Treasurer of the United States. She resigned the job last year to campaign for the Senate, but election law allows a candidate to use a title if he or she held the job within the last 12 months. Her designation on the ballot is "U.S. Treasurer/Lecturer."
The Treasurer of the United States oversees the U.S. Mint and the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. He or she also gets to sign the currency — as Marin likes to say in promoting her credentials as a fiscal conservative, she "knows something about the value of a dollar."
The Treasurer's signature is on the bottom left of paper currency.
No problem with that. But most Republicans this week do have a problem with person whose whose signature is on the bottom right.
Take a look at a Series 2001 bill. On the left, "Rosario Marin." On the right, "Paul J. O'Neill."
O'Neill, of course, is the former Secretary of the Treasury who, in his book released this week, described Bush's behavior in Cabinet meetings as that of "a blind man in a room full of deaf people."
I asked Marin this week what she thinks of her former boss' book.
"It's unfortunate, some of the comments that he made."
Was she surprised?
"He always stated his position, how he felt. He is going to speak his mind. He has nothing to lose by it. I very respectfully disagree. I am proud to have worked for the president. I would never, never, never suggest that the president was disengaged or anything like that. The president is very engaged... I respectfully disagree with his view of the White House, and certainly of the president."