WASHINGTON (CNN) – President Barack Obama defended his treasury secretary Wednesday, saying that no one in the Obama administration had been Responsible for supervising ailing insurance giant AIG.
Tim Geithner "is making all the right moves in terms of playing a bad hand," the president said.
"There has never been a secretary of the treasury, except maybe Alexander Hamilton, right after the Revolutionary War, who has had to deal with the multiplicity of issues that Secretary Geithner's having to deal with," he said.
The president spoke to reporters just outside the White House as he prepared to depart on a trip to California.
Obama again lambasted controversial bonuses given to executives at AIG, which has received $173 billion in U.S. government bailouts over the past six months.
"People are rightly outraged about these particular bonuses," he said.
"But, just as outrageous is the culture that these bonuses are a symptom of that have existed for far too long, a situation where excess greed, excess compensation, excess risk taking, have all made us vulnerable and left us holding the bag."
Obama said he had just spoken with his economic team and also with Rep. Barney Frank, D-Massachusetts, who is the chairman of the House Financial Services Committee.
Frank is presiding over hearings Wednesday on the AIG debacle. AIG chief executive Edward Liddy is expected to testify later in the day.