Felix Rohatyn touched only briefly on his recently-published memoirs. When we met with him on Feb. 8 in an informal meeting at Member John Morris’ apartment. Rohatyn, a longtime investment banker and former AAPA honorary co-president from the time when he was U.S. Ambassador to France, spent most of the evening airing his views on a wide range of issues in the news, ranging from the need to regulate financial markets to how the Obama administration should stimulate the U.S. economy. The world needs “a global market…and there should be rules,” Royatyn said, while proposing the creation of a capital investment bank to undertake major infrastructure investment projects in the U.S. He observed that the Obama administration’s decision to make health-care reform its priority “was a mistake.” While conceding the administration had gone as far as it could with a conservative Congress to regulate financial markets, Royatyn said President Obama should not relent in pursuing government-led investments to “rebuild the country” and must make that a priority in his bid for re-election in 2012.

Rohatyn, who was in Paris promoting his latest book, “Dealings – a Political and Financial Life,” said that he had met France’s President Nicolas Sarkozy several times and found him both pro-American with “a quick temper.” The brightest French leader in his view? Former President Valery Giscard d’Estaing. He praised fellow-Democrat Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who, he indicated, would make a credible presidential candidate if Obama does not run for re-election. “I like her.”

–Axel Krause

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