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And I'm Renee Montagne.

Alan Greenspan's words can still move markets. Today, the former Federal Reserve chairman will try to move some books, as his memoir, "The Age of Turbulence," officially goes on sale. The book is already making headlines for Greenspan's frank criticism of Republicans over what he calls, quote, "out of control federal spending."

NPR's Scott Horsley reports.

SCOTT HORSLEY: As Fed chairman, Alan Greenspan was famous for his sometimes inscrutable economic commentary. Since retiring last year, the 81-year-old has grown more plainspoken, and that's certainly true of his new book, in which he writes that Congressional Republicans swapped principle for power and ended up with neither.

Greenspan, who calls himself a libertarian Republican, writes the GOP deserved to lose control of Congress last year for failing to reign in spending. He is equally hard on President Bush. In an interview with Leslie Stahl on "60 Minutes" last night, Greenspan faulted the Bush Administration for leaving in place its tax cuts even as deficits mounted.

(Soundbite of "60 Minutes")

Mr. ALAN GREENSPAN (Former Chairman, U.S. Federal Reserve): Their economic policy largely was to take the proposals made during the campaign when there was a prospective very large surplus and that those policies continued in place irrespective of what was happening to the surplus.

Ms. LESLIE STAHL (Host): Well, that's - that's very rigid.

Mr. GREENSPAN: I don't know if it was rigid. It was wrong.

HORSLEY: Greenspan writes that he expected more from the administration, having served alongside Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld when Gerald Ford was president. Greenspan was one of Ford's economic advisers. But he writes that politics carries much more weight in the Bush White House than it did under President Ford. And he told "60 Minutes" he's disappointed by Vice President Cheney.

(Soundbite of "60 Minutes")

Mr. GREENSPAN: He was much less focused on restraining spending than I would have liked.

HORSLEY: Greenspan's book is kinder to former President Clinton. Although he was saddened by the Monica Lewinsky scandal, he writes, Clinton shared his own thirst for information, and held a consistent, disciplined focus on long-term economic growth.

(Soundbite of "60 Minutes")

Mr. GREENSPAN: Even though I clearly was a Republican, I had to admit that he was an extraordinarily effective president.

HORSLEY: Greenspan's "60 Minutes" interview - like the book - was not all business. He talked about writing the manuscript longhand, largely in the bathtub, and about wooing his wife, Andrea Mitchell, with an essay on the Sherman Antitrust Act. He also confessed that some of those impenetrable comments he made while Fed chairman — when he was addressing Congress, for example — were mysterious by design.

(Soundbite of "60 Minutes")

Mr. GREENSPAN: I would engage in some form of syntax destruction, which sounded as though I were answering the question, but in fact had not.

HORSLEY: Although Greenspan usually draws praise for his leadership of the Fed, some have criticized the Fed's decision to cut interest rates to as low as one percent earlier this decade, saying that contributed to the mortgage credit bubble that is now bursting. Greenspan still says it was the right move at the time.

(Soundbite of "60 Minutes")

Mr. GREENSPAN: It was our job to unfreeze the American banking system if we wanted the economy to function. This required that we keep rates modestly low.

HORSLEY: Although he retired last year, Greenspan still has the power to send shock waves through the financial world, especially when he uses words like recession, as he did earlier this year. He told "60 Minutes" he plans to keep talking about broad economic trends.

Greenspan's successor as Fed chairman, Ben Breanne, meets with other Fed officials tomorrow. They're widely expected to cut interest rates for the first time in more than four years.

Scott Horsley, NPR News.

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