This morning, former Fed chairman Alan Greenspan came on the show to talk about his new book, The Age of Turbulence, which has made headlines for his criticism of the Bush administration. CNBC's Maria Bartiromo profiled Dr. Greenspan (WATCH VIDEO) followed by the live interview with Matt (WATCH VIDEO).
Dr. Greenspan with his wife, Andrea Mitchell of NBC News.
Among the subjects Matt broached with him -- whether we're heading for a recession and the role of oil in the Bush administration's drive to war in Iraq.
But Matt couldn't cover everything with Dr. Greenspan, so I asked him a few more questions via email. I wanted to give people some insight into "another side of Alan Greenspan." So here are his responses to my questions:
Q: Something people might not know about you: You were a clarinet and saxophone player, you attended the prestigious Juilliard School and played professionally in a touring jazz band. How did you get into music? Who were some of your musical idols growing up? And why did you get out of the music business?
Dr. Greenspan: I got into music because I used to listen to Benny Goodman and other dance bands on the radio. To a young kid living in New York City, Goodman was my idol. Joining a dance band was also a great way to go on the road and see the country. So I turned pro...but soon found out that I wasn't as good as some of the other players in my band. In fact, as a kid, I played with one of the greats, Stan Getz! So it was a good thing I got out of the music business and went back to school. I'm a better economist than I was a sax player.
Q: Do you still break out your clarinet or sax and play?
AG: Now, I only play very occasionally, and in fact, more piano than clarinet or sax.
Q: When people think of you, they think of markets, stocks and interest rates. So what do you do in your spare time that is NOT related to finance?
AG: I love to play tennis and golf, listen to music, watch baseball and root for the Redskins.
Q: Matt asked you about this quote from the book: "To this day, the bathtub is where I get many of my best ideas," and you said you decided to ask your wife to marry you while in the tub. What's on your mind these days when you're soaking?
AG: The tub helps me relax, and it's a great place to read. These days, even out of office, I still read economic reports. I love facts and figures. It's like following a detective story, piecing together what's going on in the economy.
Q: Do you have any special accoutrements when you take a bath? Bubble bath? Rose petals around the tub?
AG: I'm a plain soap kind of guy.
Q: You obviously had a very high profile job as chairman of the Fed, and your wife, Andrea Mitchell of NBC News, has one too. Since you've known Andrea, what have you found most interesting about her job?
AG: I'm always amazed that she can handle different subjects -- one day politics, the next day foreign policy. And she always has so much fun doing it. We make a good team.