Robert Pozen says not running for Senate – but perhaps could be convinced

By Reuters Staff
March 3, 2011

Boston correspondent Ross Kerber interviewed mutual fund industry veteran Robert Pozen and they talked politics.

Pozen says he’s not running so far for the Senate seat from Massachusetts once held by the late Edward Kennedy. But he does appear to be positioning himself as a possible centrist candidate for Democrats mulling how to defeat Republican Senator Scott Brown in next year’s election. USA/

“I’m not running for Senate unless the Democratic Party asks me to, if they want someone who is socially liberal and fiscally disciplined,” Pozen told us in an interview at his office at MFS Investment Management, the Boston fund company where he is now Chairman Emeritus.

If, however, the party wants a more confrontational figure to take on Brown next year, “then they shouldn’t choose me because I won’t be that type of candidate,” said Pozen, a former vice chairman of Fidelity Investments.

Much of the speculation about potential Democratic rivals for Brown has so far centered on possible candidates like Democratic Congressman Michael Capuano and  Alan Khazei, co-founder of the City Year public service organization for young adults.

Both lost a Democratic primary contest to Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley, who, in turn, lost to Brown in a special election.

Pozen, once an economic adviser to Mitt Romney when he was Massachusetts governor, has been a steady Democratic donor (including to Capuano in 2009) and his enthusiasm for politics was clear in the interview. But so was his interest in more wonkish matters: Pozen has just finished a book on how the fund industry works.

He also has focused for years on how to keep Social Security solvent and served on a Social Security reform commission under former President George W. Bush. The panel’s suggestions went nowhere because of its backing for private savings accounts.

Pozen said he has little interest in that concept now, and instead he argues for other changes like indexing Social Security benefits for higher-income workers to price increases, rather than wages that tend to rise faster.

Photo credit: Reuters/Shannon Stapleton (Pozen at a conference, April 14, 2008)

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