President Obama's departing director of the National Economic Council, Larry Summers, says part of his reason for stepping down was out of a "desire to think fundamental thoughts."
In an email exchange with this reporter, Summers, who helped the President develop and implement his economic policy in the first two years of his administration, also seemed eager to return to his home state of Massachusetts.
He was a frequent flyer on the shuttle between Boston's Logan airport and Reagan National, sometimes spotted carrying a soft canvas bag and hailing a cab into town.
During one commute we shared a taxi to the White House.
Summers, whose brilliant mind places him at a much higher altitude than most, seemed genuinely interested in my view of the ailing economy.
As he stared out the window on the short drive to 1600 Pennsylvania avenue, Summers reflected on the administration's policies to jump start the ailing economy, and seemed optimistic about the outcome.
On Tuesday, just a few hours after the White House released the official statement on his departure, Summers detailed some of the personal reasons behind his decision to leave.
"Harvard 2 year rule, " he wrote in his email, referring to the university's two year leave policy for professors.
Summers also said that he wanted to get back to his family in Boston and that his departure was part of a "long plan."
That point was repeated by several administration officials who appeared to be going out of the way to show that nothing, other than a planned exit, was behind his departure.
In a statement on Tuesday, President Obama praised Summers.
"I will always be grateful that at a time of great peril for our country, a man of Larry's brilliance, experience and judgment was willing to answer the call and lead our economic team," Obama said.