As the credit crisis evolves, the administration seems to be having a problem keeping everyone on the reservation in terms of talking points, and it’s not exactly doing much to bolster Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson’s credibility as the Wise Head who will Save Us All. For instance, Forbes reports

…some of the most basic details, including the $700 billion figure Treasury would use to buy up bad debt, are fuzzy.

“It’s not based on any particular data point,” a Treasury spokeswoman told Forbes.com Tuesday. “We just wanted to choose a really large number.”

Doesn’t that just fill you with confidence? But maybe this will help: Roll Call reports that

White House Deputy Press Secretary Tony Fratto… insisted that the plan was not slapped together and had been drawn up as a contingency over previous months and weeks by administration officials. He acknowledged lawmakers were getting only days to peruse it, but he said this should be enough.

How many months might that be? Because as recently as May 16, according to the AP

[Paulson] predicted the economy will be rebounding by the second half of this year. …

“In my judgment, we are closer to the end of the market turmoil than the beginning,” he said. “Looking forward, I expect that financial markets will be driven less by the recent turmoil and more by broader economic conditions and, specifically, by the recovery of the housing sector.”

Clearly, whether Congress chooses to “peruse” the situation quickly or slowly, Henry Paulson is simply not the guy in whom we should place our trust to deal with it.

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