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Greg Valliere Has a Dream for Obama's Team

Friday, 29 Oct 2010 | 3:14 PM ET

Call Greg Valliere what you want, but a guy can dream, can’t he?

President Barack Obama
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President Barack Obama

The chief political strategist at Potomac Research Group has a dreamy-eyed vision of what could happen as President Obama rebuilds the battered shards of his decimated leadership structure

“Could they maybe get one person on their economic team who has had any business experience?” Valliere asked as he spoke to the Charles Schwab Impact 2010 conference earlier this week. “There is no one who has made a payroll, who has dealt with Sarbanes-Oxley.”

Valliere’s rhetorical flourish draws a solid round of applause from the nearly packed house of investment professionals, so he adds another layer.

“Could they maybe put someone who didn’t go to Harvard or Yale?” he says. Describing the Obama economic team, he calls it “a very narrow, incestuous little group.”

Valliere’s lively well-received speech contrasted with observations made at an earlier Impact session.

Mellody Hobson, president of Ariel Investments, remarked on how nasty politics has gotten.

“The political discourse—I just didn’t think that it could get worse,” she said. “Yet there seems to be no bottom to how bad the discourse can be.”

While a lot of the more than 3,500 investors and strategists who attended this week’s convention often will run and hide or at best talk in hushed tones when the topic is politics, Valliere goes head-on.

He thinks there should be age limits for public officials, believes the tea party “is underrated” and “their impact is huge,” and says of Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney: “Goddam he has good hair.”

Speaking of Romney, Valliere expects the former Massachusetts governor to battle former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin for the heart and soul of the GOP.

And as for Larry Summers, the former head of Obama’s National Economic Council? “The most overrated official I’ve seen in the last decade.”

It’s time, he says, for some real change in Washington.

“I see nothing wrong with an age limit or some kind of term limits,” Valliere says. “There’s something refreshing about new blood.”


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