A Bush Loyalist Is Named Economic Advisor
President Bush on Monday named Indiana businessman and political fundraiser Allan B. Hubbard to be his top economic advisor, filling one of the few remaining vacancies in the White House inner circle.
Hubbard, 57, will replace Stephen Friedman as assistant to the president for economic policy and director of the White House National Economic Council, which coordinates economic policy within the administration. Friedman, a former Wall Street executive, is leaving the post to return to the private sector.
Analysts said the choice of Hubbard, who served in the administration of Bush’s father and was a leading fundraiser for the current president, signaled that Bush was assembling a team of trusted loyalists to sell his second-term economic priorities, including Social Security restructuring and changes to the tax code.
“In this case, they’re bringing in somebody who has experience in Washington and the political process, which is probably the most important thing in trying to push through any kind of reform,” said conservative economist Brian Wesbury of the Chicago investment firm Griffin, Kubik, Stephens & Thompson.
With Hubbard’s appointment, the economic team is largely in place. Bush has nominated Kellogg Co. Chief Executive Carlos M. Gutierrez to replace outgoing Commerce Secretary Don Evans. The president recently announced he was keeping John W. Snow as Treasury secretary, and Joshua Bolten would continue as White House budget director.
A fifth team member, Council of Economic Advisors Chairman N. Gregory Mankiw, is expected to leave the administration soon to return to Harvard University. A leading candidate to replace him is Federal Reserve Gov. Ben S. Bernanke.
White House spokesman Scott McClellan said Bush “has a great amount of trust” in Hubbard, a fellow classmate at the Harvard Business School in the 1970s and one of 221 “Rangers” who raised at least $200,000 for Bush’s 2004 reelection campaign. Hubbard’s wife, Kathy, also raised $200,000.
Hubbard, who received a bachelor’s degree from Vanderbilt University and a law degree and master’s in business administration from Harvard, was deputy chief of staff to Vice President Dan Quayle during George H.W. Bush’s administration. He was Indiana Republican Party chairman in 1993 and 1994, and was active in Bush’s 2000 presidential campaign.
Hubbard heads E&A; Industries Inc., an investment firm that owns several specialty chemical companies in Indianapolis and an electrical light fixture firm in Chicago. Its holdings include Car Brite Inc., which makes automotive polishes and reconditioners.
“He’s an extremely successful small businessman,” said former Quayle Press Secretary David Beckwith, who worked alongside Hubbard in the early 1990s. “His specialty is taking over small businesses and shaping them up. He brings together the three strings of government, politics and business experience.”
Grover Norquist, president of the conservative Americans for Tax Reform, described Hubbard as a “solid Reagan-Bush Republican” who would do a good job of advancing the administration’s agenda despite a lack of formal training in economics.
“You hire economists,” Norquist said. “You don’t need one as your top guy. You need a manager and a guy who understands the basics.”
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