Battle Plan - Operation Football

Paul O'Neill, former Treasury Secretary under George W. Bush and Alcoa CEO, dies at 84

Paul O'Neill passed away Saturday, April 18, 2020. (Courtesy Indiana University)

INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR/AP) - Paul O’Neill, a former Treasury secretary who broke with George W. Bush over tax policy and then produced a book critical of the administration, died Saturday. He was 84.

O’Neill’s son, Paul O’Neill Jr. confirmed that his father died at his home in Pittsburgh after battling lung cancer for the last couple of years. After a few surgeries and chemotherapy, he decided against any further intervention four or five months ago, he said.

“There was some family here and he died peacefully,” the son said. “Based on his situation, it was a good exit.”

A former head of aluminum giant Alcoa, O’Neill served as Treasury secretary from 2001 to late 2002. He was forced to resign after he objected to a second round of tax cuts because of their impact on deficits.

He earned his Master of Public Administration degree from Indiana University in 1966. In 2019, O’Neill and wife Nancy announced a $30 million gift to the school to provide student scholarships, faculty fellowships, and a new center on public on leadership in public service. The school was renamed the O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs and was formally dedicated in September 2019.

The university shared a statement from President Michael A. McRobbie on Saturday following the news of O'Neill's passing:

“Paul O’Neill was an extraordinary leader who, in his more than five decades working in the public and private sector, embodied the very ideals we strive to impart in our students. His was a life and career marked by unwavering integrity, extraordinary vision, dedication to public and community service, questioning of conventional wisdom and respect and concern for all people. He also possessed a strong belief in the enormous power of education to transform lives and to develop the kinds of public sector leaders and decision-makers who will be needed to solve our society’s most vexing challenges. IU will forever be profoundly grateful to Secretary O’Neill and his family for their enthusiastic and extremely generous support to our top-ranked O’Neill School, whose outstanding students, faculty and staff will carry forward Secretary O’Neill’s legacy through the important and lasting contributions they will make to strengthen our state, our nation and our world.” - Indiana University President Michael McRobbie

O’Neill returned to Bloomington frequently to meet with students and faculty, providing candid, yet inspiring insight into the roles of the corporate leader or public administrator.

After leaving the Bush administration, O’Neill worked with author Ron Suskind on an explosive book covering his two years in the administration. O’Neill contended that the administration began planning the overthrow of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein right after Bush took office, eight months before the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

In this March 20, 2002 photo, U.S. Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill holds a news conference at the U.N. Conference for Financing of Development in Monterrey, Mexico. (AP Photo/John Moore)

O’Neill depicted Bush as a disengaged president who didn’t encourage debate either at Cabinet meetings or in one-on-one discussions with Cabinet members. He said the lack of discussion in Cabinet meetings gave him the feeling that Bush “was like a blind man in a roomful of deaf people.”

He said major decisions were often made by Bush’s political team and Vice President Dick Cheney. O’Neill had been recruited to join the Cabinet by Cheney, his old friend from the Gerald Ford administration. But it was Cheney who told O’Neill that the president wanted his resignation. It was part of a move by Bush to shake up his economic team and find a better salesman for a new round of tax cuts the president hoped would stimulate a sluggish economy.

When the book, “The Price of Loyalty: George W. Bush, the White House and the Education of Paul O’Neill” came out in early 2004, Bush spokesman Scott McClellan discounted O’Neill’s descriptions of White House decision-making and said the president was “someone that leads and acts decisively on our biggest priorities.”

O’Neill said his purpose in collaborating on the book, for which he turned over 19,000 government documents to Suskind, was to generate a public discussion about the “current state of our political process and raise our expectations for what is possible.”

After leaving the Cabinet, O’Neill returned to Pittsburgh, where he had headed Alcoa from 1987 to 1999. He resumed working with the Pittsburgh Regional Health Care Initiative, a consortium of hospitals, medical societies and businesses studying ways to improve health care delivery in Western Pennsylvania. The subject had interested him since his days as a budget analyst in Washington with the Office of Management and Budget.

He also devoted time in retirement to projects that would deliver clean drinking water to Africa. As Treasury secretary, O’Neill had focused attention on poverty and combating diseases such as AIDS in Africa, touring the continent with Irish rock star Bono.

Before joining Alcoa, O’Neill had been president from 1985 to 1987 of International Paper Co., a firm he had joined in 1977 after leaving OMB.

After graduating with an economics degree from California State University in Fresno in 1961, O’Neill joined the Veterans Administration in Washington, working as a computer systems analyst. He later moved to OMB and rose to become deputy director of the budget agency from 1974 to 1977, providing budget guidance to then-President Gerald Ford.

It was at OMB that O’Neill developed close working relationships with Cheney, who served as Ford’s chief of staff, and Alan Greenspan, who was head of Ford’s Council of Economic Advisers. Greenspan was chairman of the Federal Reserve during the time O’Neill was Treasury secretary.

O’Neill’s blunt speaking style more than once got him in trouble as Treasury secretary, sending the dollar into a tailspin briefly in his early days at Treasury when his comments about foreign exchange rates surprised markets. In the spring of 2001, O’Neill jolted markets again when during Wall Street’s worst week in 11 years, he blandly declared “markets go up and markets go down.”

He was more focused on the traditional Treasury secretary’s job of instilling confidence during times of turbulence later that year when he led the effort to get Wall Street re-opened after the Sept. 11 terror attacks. O’Neill was also instrumental following the attacks in beefing up the government’s programs to disrupt financing to terrorist groups.

(Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.)

Operation Football Battle Plan: October 12, 2018


INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) - Operation Football continues with Week 9.

The Band of the Week is from Westfield.

The Cheerleaders of the Week are from Zionsville.

We'll have highlights from:


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Operation Football Battle Plan: October 5, 2018


INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) - Operation Football continues with Week 8.

The Band of the Week is from Brownsburg, where we enjoyed a tailgate party before the game.

The Cheerleaders of the Week are from Bishop Chatard.

We'll have highlights from Noblesville at Brownsburg, Martinsville at Mooresville, Carmel at Warren Central, Center Grove at Lawrence North, Franklin at Greenwood and Howe at Heritage Christian.

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Operation Football Battle Plan: September 28, 2018


INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) — Operation Football continues with Week 7. The Band of the Week is from Zionsville. The Cheerleaders of the Week are from Zionsville High School.

Carlos Diaz went to Whiteland High School for the Sunrise pep rally. Dave Calabro will be live from Zionsville this evening, while Taylor Tannebaum will be at Bishop Chatard.


OPFB SEPTEMBER 28, 2018 Week #7


Perry Meridian @ #2 5A Martinsville 7pm

#10 4A Mooresville @ #4 5A Whiteland 7pm

#1 5A New Palestine @ Shelbyville 7:30pm


#3 2A Triton Central vs #1 2A Scecina @ Bishop Chatard 7pm

#9 6A North Central @ Lawrence Central 7pm

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Operation Football Battle Plan: Sept. 21, 2018


INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) — Operation Football continues with week 6. The Band of the Week is from Pendleton Heights. The Cheerleaders of the Week are from Southport High School.

Carlos Diaz went out to Sheridan High School for the Sunrise pep rally. The Blackhawks will play Taylor for Homecoming tonight. Dave Calabro will be live from Pendleton Heights this evening, while Taylor Tannebaum will be at Brownsburg High School.


Logansport @ #11 4A Marion 7 p.m.

Frankton @ #2 2A Eastbrook 7 p.m.

Mount Vernon @ Pendleton Heights 7:30 p.m.


Westfield @ #3 6A Brownsburg 7 p.m.

Fishers @ #2 6A Avon 7 p.m.

Lawrence Central @ #8 6A Center Grove 7 p.m.

Bloomington South @ #12 6A Southport 7:30 p.m.

Lutheran vs #1 2A Scecina @ Manual 7 p.m.



#7 6A Carmel @ #9 6A North Central 7 p.m.

#1 6A Warren Central @ Pike 7 p.m.

Guerin Catholic @ #3 3A Bishop Chatard 7 p.m.

Roncalli @ #12 3A Brebeuf Jesuit 7 p.m.

Covenant Christian @ Heritage Christian 7 p.m.

Heritage @ Park Tudor 7 p.m.

#10 5A Zionsville @ Hamilton SE 7 p.m.

Franklin Central @ Noblesville 7 p.m.

Taylor @ #12 1A Sheridan 7 p.m.

Tri-West @ Lebanon 7 p.m.

#3 2A Western Boone @ Frankfort 7 p.m.

Anderson Prep Academy @ Traders Point Christian 7 p.m.

Shelbyville @ Yorktown 7:30 p.m.

Rushville @ Lapel 7 p.m.

Alexandria @ Elwood 7 p.m.

Kokomo @ Muncie Central 7 p.m.

#10 6A Lafayette Jeff @ Anderson 7 p.m.

Madison-Grant @ Blackford 7 p.m.

#3 1A Monroe Central @ Wes-Del 7 p.m.

North Central (Farmersburg) @ Maconaquah 8 p.m.

Oak Hill @ Mississinewa 7 p.m.

Hamilton Heights @ Twin Lakes 7:30 p.m.

#4 2A Tipton @ Northwestern 7 p.m.

Centerville @ Northeastern 7 p.m.

Lewis Cass @ Western 7 p.m.

Carroll @ Tri-Central 7 p.m.

Clinton Central @ Eastern 7 p.m.

Clinton Prairie @ Tri-County 7 p.m.

Rensselaer Central @ Lafayette Central Catholic 8 p.m.

Benton Central @ #2 3A West Lafayette 7:30 p.m.

Tindley @ Bowman Academy 8 p.m.


#10 3A Monrovia @ Beech Grove 7 p.m.

Greenwood @ Perry Meridian 7 p.m.

Indian Creek @ Edgewood 7 p.m.

#6 5A Whiteland @ #4 5A Martinsville 7 p.m.

Franklin @ #13 4A Mooresville 7 p.m.

Terre Haute North @ #5 6A Columbus North 7:30 p.m.

New Albany @ Bloomington North 7 p.m.

Brown County @ Cloverdale 7 p.m.

Milan @ Edinburgh 7 p.m.

Eastern Hancock @ South Decatur 7 p.m.

East Central @ South Dearborn 7 p.m.

#8 5A Columbus East @ Floyd Central 7 p.m.

#5 5A Cathedral @ Jeffersonville 7 p.m.

Greencastle @ Sullivan 7 p.m.


#5 2A Triton Central vs Cardinal Ritter @ Marian University 7 p.m.

Lawrence North @ #4 6A Ben Davis 7 p.m.

Speedway @ Washington 7 p.m.

#2 5A Decatur Central @ Plainfied 7 p.m.

Owen Valley @ Cascade 7 p.m.

Danville @ Southmont 7 p.m.

West Vigo @ South Putnam 7 p.m.

Crawfordsville @ North Montgomery 7 p.m.

North Putnam @ Northview 7 p.m.


Manual @ Howe 7 p.m.

Greenfield-Central @ #1 5A New Palestine 7:30 p.m.

Cambridge City Lincoln @ Knightstown 7 p.m.

Delta @ New Castle 7:30 p.m.

Franklin County @ Greensburg 7 p.m.

McCutcheon @ Richmond 7 p.m.

#10 2A Shenandoah @ Hagerstown 7 p.m.


Harrison @ Tech 7 p.m.

Shortridge @ Crispus Attucks 7 p.m.

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Operation Football Battle Plan: Sept. 14, 2018


INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) — Week 5 of Operation Football is here.

The Band of the Week is from Decatur Central High School, and the Cheerleaders of the Week are from Winchester High School.

Carlos Diaz joined students at Cascade High School for the Sunrise pep rally, and Dave Calabro will be live at Decatur Central this evening as the Hawks play Moorseville. Taylor Tannebaum will be live at Warren Central High School before the No. 1 Warriors play the No. 4 Ben Davis Giants.


North Montgomery @ #3 2A Western Boone 7 p.m.

Lafayette Central Catholic @ #4 2A Tipton 7:30 p.m.

#5 6A Columbus North @ #13 3A Guerin Catholic 7 p.m.


#4 6A Ben Davis @ #1 6A Warren Central 7 p.m.

#13 6A Pike @ #16 6A Lawrence Central 7 p.m.


#7 6A Carmel @ #13 6A Lawrence North 7 p.m.

Mooresville @ #2 5A Decatur Central 7 p.m.

#3 3A Bishop Chatard @ #12 6A Southport 7 p.m.

Heritage Christian @ Shortridge 7 p.m.



Culver Academy @ #12 3A Brebeuf Jesuit 7:30 p.m.

Lutheran @ Park Tudor 7 p.m.

#3 6A Brownsburg @ Fishers 7 p.m.

#11 6A Hamilton SE @ Westfield 7 p.m.

Western @ Hamilton Heights 7 p.m.

Noblesville @ #10 5A Zionsville 7 p.m.

Frankfort @ Lebanon 7 p.m.

#1 5A New Palestine @ Pendleton Heights 7:30 p.m.

Indiana Deaf @ Anderson Prep Academy 7 p.m.

#2 2A Eastbrook @ Madison-Grant 7 p.m.

Wes-Del @ #10 2A Shenandoah 7 p.m.

Mt Vernon @ Delta 7:30 p.m.

Richmond @ Marion 7 p.m.

Eastern @ Carroll 7 p.m.

Northwestern @ Lewis Cass 7 p.m.

Delphi @ Tri-Central 7 p.m.

Maconaquah @ Peru 7 p.m.

#2 1A Monroe Central @ South Adams 7 p.m.

Sheridan @ Clinton Prairie 7 p.m.

Taylor @ Clinton Central 7 p.m.

Logansport @ McCutcheon 7 p.m.

Kokomo @ #10 6A Lafayette Jeff 7 p.m.

Anderson @ Harrison 7 p.m.

#2 3A West Lafayette @ Rensselaer Central 8 p.m.


#2 6A Avon @ Franklin Central 7 p.m.

#1 2A Scecina @ Roncalli 7 p.m.

Perry Meridian @ #6 5A Whiteland 7 p.m.

#9 6A North Central @ #8 6A Center Grove 7 p.m.

Plainfield @ Greenwood 7 p.m.

Cincinnati Xavier vs #5 5A Cathedral @ University of Indianapolis 7:30 p.m.

#4 5A Martinsville @ Franklin 7 p.m.

South Decatur @ Edinburgh 7 p.m.

Terre Haute South @ Bloomington South 7:30 p.m.

Greensburg @ South Dearborn 7 p.m.

Beech Grove @ Brown County 7 p.m.

#8 5A Columbus East @ New Albany 7 p.m.


#10 3A Monrovia @ Speedway 7 p.m.

Linton-Stockton vs Cardinal Ritter @ Marian 7:30 p.m.

Howe @ Washington 7 p.m.

Tindley @ Covenant Christian 7 p.m.

Tri-West @ Danville 7 p.m.

Greencastle @ Cascade 7 p.m.

Southmont @ Crawfordsville 7 p.m.

Edgewood @ South Putnam 7 p.m.

Cloverdale @ North Putnam 7 p.m.

Bloomington North @ Terre Haute North 7:30 p.m.


Indian Creek @ #5 2A Triton Central 7 p.m.

Greenfield-Central @ Shelbyville 7:30 p.m.

Eastern Hancock @ Knightstown 7 p.m.

Yorktown @ New Castle 7:30 p.m.

Rushville @ Connersville 7 p.m.

Northeastern @ Union City 7 p.m.


Manual vs Crispus Attucks @ TBA 7 p.m.

Muncie Central @ Tech 7 p.m.

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