March 22nd, 2009
08:58 AM ET
9 years ago

Obama says Geithner's job is safe

President Obama has expressed confidence in Timothy Geithner's role as Treasury secretary.

President Obama has expressed confidence in Timothy Geithner's role as Treasury secretary.

(CNN) - President Obama says Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner’s job is safe, according to excerpts of Mr. Obama’s interview this week with CBS’s “60 Minutes.”

If the embattled Secretary were to submit his resignation, Obama said he’d tell him, “Sorry, Buddy, you’ve still got the job,” according to the excerpts.

Obama told CBS that neither he nor Geithner has discussed a possible resignation from the Treasury Department.

Geithner has faced increasing criticism since it was revealed that ailing insurance giant AIG doled out massive bonuses to executives after accepting more than $170 billion from the federal government.

In response to the criticism, Geithner told CNN’s Ali Velshi, Geithner defended his actions, but said he should have known about the scale of the problems sooner.

The president told CBS that criticism is natural, especially given the scope of the financial crisis his administration is facing.

Obama also shot back at former Vice President Dick Cheney’s criticism of some of his administration’s policies.

"How many terrorists have actually been brought to justice under the philosophy that is being promoted by Vice President Cheney? It hasn't made us safer. What it has been is a great advertisement for anti-American sentiment," Obama told CBS.

Since taking office in January, Obama has announced plans to close the U.S. prison camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to halt the military trials of suspected terrorists there, and to make CIA officers follow the Army Field Manual's rules on interrogations. Cheney said the administration appears to be returning to the pre-2001 model of treating terrorism as a law enforcement issue, rather than a military threat.

Cheney last week told CNN’s John King that Obama is making some choices that he thinks “will, in fact, raise the risk to the American people of another attack."

CBS’ interview with Obama was taped Friday and will air Sunday.

Filed under: Popular Posts • President Obama • Tim Geithner
soundoff (159 Responses)
  1. Generation X

    America we have to look at the Big Picture. We choose our current President to make the best decision possible for our country to move forward but we have to give President Obama and his team time to sort out the mess he inherited from the Previous Admin. Secretary Geithner and President Obama can only learn from the few mishaps of the first days in office. We should direct our attention to those who paid out the bonuses and those few Americans who were greedy enough to accept the money in this stressfull economic time. Those are the true terrorist that are killing America from the inside, and they should be the ones that we are asking to be FIRED!!!

    March 22, 2009 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  2. Lori

    @David: Yes, you must cut back on what you don't need but to restore financial health, you must spend too. How else do you put money back into the economy without money?

    @Bill: You stated the the Dems were in office for 2 years and what responsibility do they bear. Answer: Not nearly as much responsibility as the Republicans who had the President in charge for 8 LOOONNNGGG years and the Republican congress for 6 years. If you knew math you would agree that 6-8 years means the Republicans hold majority of the blame, the Democrats minimially.

    Hey the alternative could be McCain/Palin running this country. Some people liked Palin b/c they felt she 'seems nice'. Remember the last time we voted for someone b/c we felt we could have a beer with them? Alaska is in a disaster and the Republicans want us to believe that Palin and McCain could be doing a better job. GIVE ME A BREAK!

    March 22, 2009 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  3. Richard A. Spomer, Alexandria, VA

    Dear President Obama,

    You mean to tell the general public, and the citizens for which voted in your behalf that you are going to play politics, lies, deception, and go against the will of voting America. Sir I live on my Social Security Disability; and you need to inform everyone that receiving Social Security is in-fact being taxed on theirs as well.

    Mr. President You should also let the citizens of this great nation know of the budget faults and deceptions which will fail to help after the long run we will be back were we are now if not worse off, and upon the people of this great nation. You should infract resign from office if you are going to back one of a known liar as for AIG brouhaha, and the bounces.

    March 22, 2009 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  4. Steve D.

    Geithner should have never been confirmed as the Treasury Secretary in the first Daschle, who was NOT confirmed as Health and Human Services Secretary, Geithner is also guilty of tax evasion. Geithner getting the Treasury Secretary job was wrong in the first place. Now, his excessively sloppy work on the AIG matter requires that he step down or be removed from his post. Plain and simple gross incompetence. Oh yeah, almost forgot. Senator Dodd should be forced to give up his Senate seat as well. His part in the AIG mess is also completely unacceptable.

    March 22, 2009 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  5. Dee

    @ David
    People borrow money everyday they don't have to lay the ground work for a prosperous future. How do you think the majority of small businesses get started? They borrow money on their insurance policies, homes, etc. to start a business. They develop a blueprint for what the money will go toward and a strategy for a short term and long term plan and present it to the bank. This is exactly what Pres. Obama has done with the stimulus plan. Instead of just repeating talking points of one group or another use common sense. Everyone knows that you do borrow to get ahead.

    March 22, 2009 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  6. Vinod Bajaj

    Prtesident Obama is very inexperienced and we do not have time to give President Obma on job training. President Obama never held an executive responsibility in the past. I never supported him for Presidency. First two months of his Presidency is not very impressive. But I'm willing to give him some more time and benefit of doubt.

    March 22, 2009 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  7. Cats

    I am a moderate middle-aged independent voter. I'll tell you why I have great faith in the leadership we have been fortunate enough to elect this time around. Its the ability to take the long term view, the desire to include and empower as many as possible, the practical and decent efforts to find solutions to long standing problems for the good of everyone, the underlying sense of fair play and doing unto others as you would have them do unto you. Add to all of that good minds, and lots of combined experience and I can't help but be grateful and optimistic. I say to my fellows, no matter who you are or what position you hold, do something to contribute.

    March 22, 2009 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  8. Pat

    Dick Cheney's policies, in fact, greatly increased those from outside and inside our country who wish to take us down. Dick Cheney also is openly willing to suspend our Constitution forever and to dishonor international protocol and agreements. Dick Cheney would willingly return us to a country of nobles and peasants forcing the peasants to do his dirty work, calling those peasants unpatriotic if they refuse to do his dirty work, and would very quickly bring down everything this country has accomplished since its inception. Dick Cheney is the #1 reason that the Bush administration will quite possibly go down as the worst administration in our history. This is a difficult reality for Dick Cheney to face and thus he must try to do everything he can to make sure that no other after him appears to be successful. Don't buy it America.

    March 22, 2009 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  9. Derick Morganton

    Of course Geithner's job is still safe. It's not like Obama can fire one of his bosses.

    March 22, 2009 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  10. Helen

    I always thought that bonuses were given to acknowledge hard work when the company showed a profit. When did the rules change?

    March 22, 2009 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  11. Sami

    Rather hard to clean up somebody else's mess. If Obama or his staff twitches their nose wrong, the Repubs will criticize. Comes with the territory. Repubs cannot stand to not be in control. And some of the subjects supposedly intelligent men choose to jump on and criticize is beyond belief.

    March 22, 2009 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  12. Joe the Troll

    Hey Vinod –

    I'm sure he's relieved that you're willing to give him an extension.

    March 22, 2009 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  13. Pat

    I agree that Geithner should never have been confirmed and now needs to do the honorable thing and step down regardless of President Obama's perception. It is time to set the standards in this country. Bare minimum standards such as not being in arrears on your taxes does not seem to be too much to ask. Time to clean house in our government and our business community once again. Every so often we need these reminders of where unfettered greed takes us and it is not a pretty picture. To play partisan politics and try to present one side as more forthright than the other is simply ridiculous. Greed does not occur simply due to party affiliation. Our system of government and our business community is structured to promote greed and resist accountability. Too bad because it is strong, ongoing accountability in all sectors of our society that will ultimately continue to keep us on a path of success.

    March 22, 2009 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  14. Vinod Bajaj

    President Obama is trying to fix TOO many things in TOO short of a time (That is -inexperience). He should list 5-6 priorities for 2009 and go for that. He has 4 years to accomplish his agenda. I'm sure economy is his TOP 1 priority if not we are all dead.

    March 22, 2009 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  15. CL OT

    Yet another mistake by BO and many more to come. It is a sad day in America...

    March 22, 2009 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  16. Shannon

    We have bigger fish to fry than Geithner. Its time we start focusing on understanding who we are dealing with and what our objective is when it comes to our economy. Politicians are doing what they do best, blaming each other. Let's face it, we don't have that luxury.

    Truth: Government isn't equipped to run any company. FDIC may work for dismantling Banks but, there is no department yet with the capability or authority needed for Insurance companies. Do we think Congress can do the job? Geithner? President Obama?

    Truth: The CEO of AIG who previously held the same position with Allstate, who by the way is only making $1.00 a year without bonuses or kick backs says, PAY THEM so we can PAY YOU back.

    Truth: Economics 101. the greater the demand + limited supply = higher costs.

    Here's another truth, at least the way I see it. These bonus takers are disgusting to my sense of fairness but, life isn't always fair and this is another example of that. We ARE hostages to AIG, IF we want our money back. Now, we can focus on getting our money back OR we can focus on fairness.

    It's crunch time, what is our objective? Don't forget, politicians work FOR YOU! YOU decide, then call your government rep and tell them what the goal is and to get the job done, no excuses.

    March 22, 2009 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  17. annie - Palin 2012

    To Lori – Don't know where you get your info on Alaska but it is one of the few states that is doing alright. Gov. Palin maintains a plus 60% rating and most govenors would love that! As far as bush verses bo – both stink. As far as demmies vs repubs both parties are full of corruption and evil people who are only seeking to fill their own pockets. Lori, these people work for us not the other way around. This is the quality I have admired Gov. Palin for (so far-'cause things can change in a heartbeat). She works for her citizens and what is best for them in the long run. Some of the things in this stinkulus pkg have so many strings attached that in 2 yrs it will bankrupt many states who take the whole pkg. Are these gov who are taking the whole thing thinking ahead as to what they will do in 2 yrs.?

    March 22, 2009 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  18. Mary Galbraith

    Alan M - thanks for your calm and rational commentary. Too bad most of the posters don't understand calm and rational! But it's the only way to go if we're going to get out of this mess.

    March 22, 2009 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  19. Chenna Benna

    I love how many on here want Geithner to leave his post will we are in the middle of the worst economy we have seen since the great depression, a situation that most have said we have never been in. While the Repubs and Dems are busy pointing fingers at one another, the president and his team are trying to focus at the bigger job at hand and are the only ones right now who are taking action. Geithner is doing the absolute best that he can considering he is under staffed at Treasury. Can anyone on here tell me what congress is doing in trying to help clean up this mess? Anyone? ::crickets:: That's what I thought. Absolutely nothing but pointing fingers.

    If anyone for a minute thinks this economic disaster, which took 10 years or more to get into, should have been fixed by now, you are kidding your self. If this could get done in two months, it would have been fixed by now. This is too complex of a problem and it is going to take more time. The political pundits and critics can hate on the president and Geithner all they want to. The bottom line is it doesn't matter who is in office, it is going to take a while.

    March 22, 2009 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  20. Larry

    As long as EVERYBODY is in DENIAL,nothing will get better,it will continue to get worse,and it will get worse.Stop defending stupidity.

    March 22, 2009 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  21. Nancy

    This Monday morning quarterbacking is absurd. What is happening to our economic situation is not simple and cannot be handled simply. The Republicans now say we should have done nothing–no helping the banks, no helping General Motors and have suddenly become fiscally conservative. One of the easiest things to do is to put a bandaid on something and let someone else deal with the cancer later. This admininistration has the courage to say 'no more bandaids." We have underlying problems that must be dealt with. Are there going to be missteps along the way, of course. I find it it fasinating that the Republicans just a few months ago were arguing against any cap on bonuses and NOW they are outraged.

    March 22, 2009 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  22. Terry

    Browsing these comments, most of which are critical of the Obama Administration's efforts so far, shows me that the vast right-wing smear machine has cranked up and is attempting to "Clintonize" the Obama Administration. Their strategy is to keep up a shouting chorus of negative information that is innaccurate, exaggerated, one-sided, and mean spirited.

    Conservatives, of course, never admit that they caused most of these problems and ran up most of the national debt during prosperous times. Conservatives would rather rule a bankrupt nation than help govern a prosperous one.

    We can all ignore this hot wind of Conservative criticism. They don't mean it. It is just a strategy to gain power, not an heartfelt expression of opinion. They don't even care about the issues they are raising. It was Conservatives who told us that the national debt didn't matter – back when they were running it up.

    March 22, 2009 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  23. curt

    Looks like another bad appointment! How can you have any confidence in his abilities when he cheats on his own taxes????

    March 22, 2009 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  24. nonoy

    Obama is a pathological liar...he continues to lie because he believes his people will continue to idolize him inspie of all his lies...

    March 22, 2009 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  25. Joseph

    I'm not sure why Obama kept protecting this guy. At some point he will need to cut this guy loose.

    March 22, 2009 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
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