We covered U.S. Rep. Mike Castle, R-Del.,in Congress a few times, back when he ran a House Banking subcommittee during the GOP's brief ascendancy 15 years ago. Castle stood out very well in that crowd (of which the late US Rep Sonny Bono was also a member, among other clowns) because he showed every sign of thoroughly understanding financial legislation. Since he'd been a corporate lawyer and a bank-state Governor and all. Not like a certain New York Rep who at one hearing asked Alan Greenspan why he couldn't just raise interest rates in cities where the economy was too fast, and cut them where things were slow.

Castle is close to the banks, which are still major employers in Delaware. We were interested to see that (unlike his bitter-end colleagues from that other consumer banking center, South Dakota) he joined the fat majority in approving the "Credit Card Bill of Rights" law on its final vote last month, despite his earlier objections. We sent him questions from our Septa commuter train. He answered from his Amtrak. Excerpts: