French finance minister Christine Lagarde's campaign for the International Monetary Fund leaped into cyberspace Thursday with a live chat on Twitter that perhaps said more about her personality than her qualifications to run the fund or the policies she might pursue.
Energetic and engaging, she fielded an hour's worth of public questions for a job that's decided by kibbitzing and horse-trading among a handful of heads of state and finance ministers. A mass popularity contest it is not. And the format has its limits: confining lawyers or economists to 140 characters is kind of like telling celebrity chef Bobby Flay to hold the butter.
But try she did.
"Would you support a new, global Glass-Steagall Act to prevent systematic banking risk taking? If not, why?" asked a questioner with the handle @vovrmkt.
"Separation of risk and appropriate protection of deposit owners is necessary. Best," Lagarde replied.
She pushed aside a question from a Washington Post reporter about whether she would recuse herself from IMF discussions over the future of the euro, and whether she would release a financial disclosure statement.
"I will fully comply with the rules of the IMF," she said. Those rules do not make financial holdings of top officials public.