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Steven Rattner

In the 1970s, as a reporter for The New York Times, Steven Rattner covered the federal rescue of Chrysler Corp., said Louise Story in The New York Times. Now, as special counselor to the Treasury Department, he’s leading the Obama administration’s effort to save U.S. automakers. Rattner, 56, quit newspapering for Wall Street in the 1980s, rising to vice chairman of investment bank Lazard Freres. He left Lazard after a power struggle to found Quadrangle Capital, a private-equity firm. His friends say “it would be hard to find a better auto industry analyst.”

Or a better Democratic fund-raiser, said Neil King and Peter Lattman in The Wall Street Journal. Rattner and his wife, Maureen White, are “a Democratic power couple” who hosted fundraisers for Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Rattner’s record as a financier, though, is “mixed.” Several of Quadrangle’s companies are struggling. But Obama may have tapped him because of a “blend of skills,” including that of “networker extraordinaire.”

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