March 19th, 2009
05:24 PM ET

Geithner a liability for Obama?

John Feehery
Special to CNN

The man who was a symbol of Barack Obama's moderation might become a symbol of the new president's struggle with competence.


Tim Geithner, who was once hailed as the kind of guy who understood Wall Street, is now the Obama administration's version of "Brownie" (as in "Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job.").

At the mere word of Mr. Geithner's nomination as treasury secretary back in November, the market jumped close to 500 points. He was hailed by market insiders as a "fantastic choice," "highly-skilled and pragmatic." He was even praised by his Bush administration predecessor, Hank Paulson, who said, "I have great confidence in his understanding of markets, his judgment and leadership, and his ability to meet the challenges that lie ahead."


Filed under: Economy • President Barack Obama
soundoff (20 Responses)
  1. Sherry, N. Calif.

    Taxes? The IRS should audit all of Congress. It seems since everyone is so concerned about Mr. G.'s taxes, let's dig for some real dirt or is it gold now?. I am concerned about my own taxes at the present.
    I don't know Mr. Geithner personally. Do you? I am sure if Washington needs a HEAD it will be his. He may have consulted with Mr. Beranke before making the decision. You think? and Mr. B probably asked the rest of the Fed. Res. Board along with some high powered Attorney's, before it actually came down the tubes.
    If I have learned one thing from this mess- It is to use more discernment before judging and leave the matter at hand to those that really know what is going on. None of knows who that is, do we?

    March 19, 2009 at 9:10 pm |
  2. Joe F

    Something I just don't anderstand. When Obama signed the bill, doesn't he read it first, or at least know what's in it?. AIG bonuses were included in the bill that he signed himself. If Mr.Geithner do not resign or quit, than President Obama knew about it.

    March 19, 2009 at 9:06 pm |
  3. joey (Hot Springs, AR)

    I voted for Obama. Hoped he would change this world. He needs to start with Geithner. Fire him!! I lost my job due to people like the ones running AIG. Bonuses??? How???? They ran a company in the ground with their great wisdom!! It is time for the people not the politicians of America torun this country. An ordinary man no longer has any say in this country!!! Geithner is a joke!! Bye Bye!! When is it my turn to play????

    March 19, 2009 at 9:06 pm |
  4. helen i meluso

    Dear Anderson:

    Since you are the only one who has a diversified program, would you tell Jonathon Klein to get off Johnny One Note News on Obama. At one time CNN covered the world now its a broken needle.

    Oh, one other issue, I would like to keep my privilage of being as critical of Obama as I was of Bush and I am tired of Obama being referred to as a black. He is both black and white. Let's be factual here.

    Does black and white cow produce black and white milk? Let's grow up.


    March 19, 2009 at 9:00 pm |
  5. Bonnie

    Hello people. Are you threatened because we actually have intelligent people in the white house? Frustration does not even begin to describe the stupidity of the population in the United States. So many people have their hands out and don't want to work. No one said your job was going to last your lifetime! – California has become a welfare state!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! – Our state government is corrupt. A forty-two billion dollar deficit thanks to the clowns in Sacramento. As a native Californian for over sixty years – it is depressing to see the outcome and erosion of this once wonderful state. Welfare at every level. We're broke because the "bleeding liberals" won't say no. They want to pile the debt on the working class.
    Why has CNN become a tabloid news agency? There are only two individuals worth watching: Anderson Cooper in the evening and Kara in the morning – everything else is turning to trash. Won't waste the electricity to keep the tv running.

    March 19, 2009 at 8:40 pm |
  6. Bridget

    if anyone should be blamed for this AIG situation, it is Nancy Pelosi and Congress! Why did congress distribute another bailout? If AIG could not fulfill their contracts it would be their problem not the govenernment and the American people. Nancy Pelosi should be removed from Congress!!

    March 19, 2009 at 8:23 pm |
  7. Bill, Baton Rouge, LA

    I think continually making statements and developing proposals that differ in no way from the philosophies of Karl Marx may prove to be a greater liability. To each health care and housing according to their need and from each who earn enough to save for their own retirement nest egg.

    March 19, 2009 at 8:16 pm |
  8. Edward

    Just when you think it can't get worse....it does. On Tuesday of this week, Obama was fuming about how these bonuses came to be. You also had Dodd pleading innocent to creating a last minute loophole in the legislation. The next day Dodd says he's sorry, it was him who did all this, but it was at the direction of the treasury department. We can only assume it would have to had come from Geithner. So back to fuming...Obama it set on getting to the bottom of this when he discovers on Wednesday, that it was his appointed Treasury Secretary who's pulling all the strings. Obama was in flight to California for a town hall meeting when Dodd was on The Situation Room confessing his guilt. By the time he lands he already has a plan... After introductions at the meeting, he immediatley addresses the issue. He said he is still angry, like on Tuesday, then he says "BUT". I thought to myself , omg where did that "but" come from, knowing it's usually followed by a bad excuse. Obama did not disappoint. He said "but the bonuses are only part of a bigger problem and we need to fix that"bigger" problem.
    Summary is Obama looks for the villan, finds out it's Geithner, takes the blame and moves on. The bigger problem is this: Obama didn't know what was going on and nobody told him. It was our government that put in the loophole, and Dodd lied about it and Obama didn't know about it. How can he fix things if he doesn't evem know what his own people are doing?
    Now for the worse......Today CNN made light of the fact that the banks gave 5 billion dollars to congress over a ten year period to chip away at the laws that regulated the industry. Dodd has received the most money from AIG with Obama placing 2nd. The banks paid congress 5 billion to deregulate them and congress accepted. This is completely disgusting. Just when you think it's safe to go back into the water that is the government, it's far from safe. The corruption is too much to comprehend. Maybe we should set up a commitee to investigate this like with steroids in MLB. Congress testifying before Congress. The blind leading the blind leading us!

    March 19, 2009 at 7:37 pm |
  9. Gordon Rude

    Never has an American President had a greater oppourtunity to change both American Business and Political cultures at the same time by sponsoring an initiative to create complete business transparency. The tools are now there for business and they have always been there in politics. As we can see by the current outcry if we make available information to 110 million pairs of american eyes – they will regulate both.

    March 19, 2009 at 7:27 pm |
  10. Annie Kate

    Ok, so we get rid of Geithner, then who does the job? It doesn't seem to me that anyone else has more of a handle on the financial mess either. Everyone keeps saying this is an unprecedented occurrence in our economy. If it truly is unprecedented then it stands to reason that there really is no one that has a handle on how to rectify the situation. So we replace Geithner – who do we appoint then – and do we really have any more confidence in their knowing what to do??

    March 19, 2009 at 7:22 pm |
  11. JC- Los Angeles

    Timothy Geithner, of tax evasion fame, will prove to be the Alan Greenspan of Obama's first term.

    While President Obama has made numerous miscalculations in the selection of horrid cabinet members, none will prove to be more horrific than little Timmy.

    President Obama, viewing Geithner as a valuable Wall Street insider, should have realized that Geithner's plan all along was to rebuild Wall Street through a private/public investment fund with the private parties consisting of his friends that drove Wall Street into the ground.

    When this was made public, President Obama should have cut bait; Geithner and Gibbs will be gone by July 4th.

    March 19, 2009 at 7:05 pm |
  12. Mari

    As much as this pains me, yes. The AIG "loophole" was wrong and in this day of the Bush Disaster, there is no room for such a thing to happen!

    I support President Obama 100%, but...... unlike the far-right I do not follow blindly.

    March 19, 2009 at 7:04 pm |
  13. Paul Ernest Show

    Give these folks a break before you start judging them.

    March 19, 2009 at 6:33 pm |
  14. Patty

    Why doesn't everyone just get off this guys back and give him a freaking chance to do what he needs to do? I don't believe there is anybody alive who would be able to do much better! He should be commended for even trying!!!!

    This is so typical of people in todays culture, no room for error, expectations so high, they are impossible to achieve and just plain meaness!

    I wish for just once the media would LAYOFF, stop antagonizing the situation. There are so many other negative things you can go chase like the Countrywide CEO's profiting from their own mess, or why none of the loan agents from these Banks who preyed on senior citizens and screwed consumers are being held accountable, or heaven forbid you find something positive to editorialize like volunteerism.

    I don't know if Mr. Geithner is the "right" man or not, but we did vote for President Obama, and if President Obama believes in him, we should give him a chance and help where we can, even if that means, stepping back and shutting up!

    March 19, 2009 at 6:25 pm |
  15. Jerry Dodson

    Can we not make up our minds. In November he was the greatest thing since sliced bread and now, well we just can't get it right no wonder the nation is in so much trouble, all we need to do is work together and support and trust our leaders,and our leader need to respect that support and trust, and be that kind of a leader, leave greed at the door.

    March 19, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  16. Denise in MA

    It would be a liability for the President to have no one in that office. I am sure the haters would love that. Sitting around like voltures waiting for our President to fail.

    March 19, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  17. RLG Virginia

    Mr. President,
    I implore you:
    He's just another Wall Street tool, his loyalties are to the same thieves who caused this disaster, not to you, the country, or the taxpayers that are bailing everyone out. Put your fut down, and get someone who isn't in bed with the crooks and cronies to implement plans that will help the Nation recover, not to ensure that rich get richer!!!!!!!

    RL Giarrusso, Esq.

    March 19, 2009 at 5:48 pm |
  18. Mike, Zephyrhills, FL

    Bankers watching bankers! Can we trust any banker these days and anyone from Wall Street. Just who can really do this job with all the fraud and clearly no one watching out for taxpayers.

    March 19, 2009 at 5:42 pm |
  19. Cindy

    Geithner is a liability to this whole nation not just Obama!! First he didn't pay his taxes yet he is in charge of us paying ours, then he has incomplete housing and financial plans, and now the AIG fiasco. WOW..he definitely was the right person for this job I can see!


    March 19, 2009 at 5:37 pm |
  20. xtina, chicago IL

    someone who doesn't pay their taxes ?? Nooooo 😉

    March 19, 2009 at 5:33 pm |

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