Larry was my boss when I first moved to Harvard, and indeed he really was pretty crucial in persuading me to move. He has a fantastically powerful mind, but he’s also got a fantastically abrasive personality. I really like that, as it was quite a change from the somewhat oleaginous British academic leadership.
As for Larry’s turn in Washington, the administration was facing the biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression. I have no doubt that he was a crucial decision-maker in the administration’s response to that crisis. Whatever one may say about the administration, things could have gone a whole lot worse than they did. We avoided the Great Depression and it was a pretty near-miss. I think the economic team in the White House deserves some credit for that.