WASHINGTON – Former Goldman Sachs chief executive Henry M. Paulson was sworn in as the nation's 74th Treasury secretary on Monday, and he pledged to make sure the United States does not retreat from the world economy.
"We must always remember that the strength of the U.S. economy is linked to the strength of the global economy," Paulson said in remarks during a brief ceremony. "If we retreat from the global stage, the void is likely to be filled by those who do not share our commitment to economic reform."
President Bush, who attended the swearing in ceremony in Treasury's ornate Cash Room, praised Paulson for giving up his job at Goldman Sachs Group, one of Wall Street's premier investment firms, to join the administration.
He said that Paulson would serve as his "leading policy adviser" and the administration's top economic spokesman. Bush turned to Paulson as part of an administration shake-up this year designed to bolster the president's sagging approval ratings and get his stalled second-term agenda back on track.
Paulson, with his wife, two children and his mother present, was sworn in by Chief Justice John Roberts underneath the Cash Room's three giant golden chandeliers. A number of current and past Bush administration Cabinet officials attended, as did several members of Congress and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke.
In a rare move, Bush walked rather than traveling by motorcade from the White House to the Treasury Department next door for the ceremony. Paulson was waiting for the president on the west steps of the building.