When former-treasury secretary Henry Paulson threatened to fire Bank of America execs if they backed out of a deal to buy Merrill Lynch, some observers got a little nervous. Could the government make such a threat? Paulson thinks so, and will defend himself before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform on Thursday. In prepared remarks, Paulson says that if BofA had backed off the deal, it would have indicated "a colossal lack of judgment" that would have endangered the entire financial system. Therefore, his strongarm tactics were appropriate. Paulson has been out of the public eye since stepping down from his position in January. The Wall Street Journal reports that his remarks stand "as a rare attempt...to defend his legacy."