The Washington Times - October 13, 2008, 03:16PM

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown called President Bush on Sunday evening to brief him on economic-crisis meetings in Paris earlier in the day with other European leaders.

The White House did not announce the conversation, which they often do when Mr. Bush speaks with foreign leaders by phone. In fact, the White House announced calls to several leaders last week.


Instead, Mr. Brown mentioned the conversation in a speech Monday, and the White House confirmed that Mr. Brown had called Mr. Bush.

European leaders, seeking unanimity on how to deal with the crisis in a coordinated way, agreed to follow Mr. Brown’s course of action, which has been to inject government money directly into privately owned banks.

Mr. Brown was Britain’s equivalent of a Treasury secretary — the chancellor of the exchequer — for a decade, until taking office as prime minister in June 2007.

He has been beset by political problems during his less than 16 months in office. But now he is gaining a head of steam after leading the way to what appears will be the world’s strategy for staving off economic collapse.

“European Superhero” blared one article for the London Daily Telegraph.

And Paul Krugman, who on Monday was awarded the Nobel Prize for economics, started his column with the words “Has Gordon Brown … saved the world financial system?”

Mr. Krugman, who has been a fierce critic of Mr. Bush’s, answered his own question.

“O.K., the question is premature — we still don’t know the exact shape of the planned financial rescues in Europe or for that matter the United States, let alone whether they’ll really work,” he wrote.

“What we do know, however, is that Mr. Brown and Alistair Darling, the chancellor of the Exchequer (equivalent to our Treasury secretary), have defined the character of the worldwide rescue effort, with other wealthy nations playing catch-up.”