Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair on Thursday offered a nod of approval to the U.S. government's decision to bail out Wall Street.
"I frankly don't think there was any alternative," Blair, who is an adviser to JPMorgan Chase, told Alex Cohen during a visit to southern California. "When government is faced with a crisis of confidence and that crisis of confidence threatens to overwhelm the system, there come's a point — and this point was reached — when the full force of government, the state has to be put behind the economic system. In that sense, I think Secretary Paulson was right."
He also offered words of support for Sens. Barack Obama and John McCain.
"I think you have two very good people standing to be your president, and I think you actually can take a lot of comfort from that."
He would not state his preference for either candidate, however, and refused to offer debate advice.
"I think your election is for you guys," he said.
More than a year after he resigned as British Prime Minister, Blair expressed disdain for the word "retirement."
"It's totally alien to my nature. I think the day you retire is the day you die," he said.
Lately, Blair has been keeping busy with various causes, most prominently, the Middle East peace process, which he called the "single most critical" issue of the moment. Blair is an envoy to Quartet on the Middle East, a mediation group made up of the United Nations, the European Union, the United States and Russia. Recently, the Quartet drew criticism from charitable organizations for failing to make progress.
Blair was quick to disagree.
"I think it's perfectly possible for people to be relentlessly negative about this situation… but I prefer to look at this situation and say there is some course for hope. And actually medium- and long-term, I'm relatively optimistic that can happen," he said.