March 21st, 2009
04:25 PM ET
12 years ago

Obama says Geithner's job is safe

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="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: Extra • President Obama • Tim Geithner
soundoff (16 Responses)
  1. shannon chapel hill

    Change we can beleive in!

    March 21, 2009 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  2. Matt, Canoga Park

    Stick with Geithner and Obama's job won't be safe in less than 4 years.

    March 21, 2009 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  3. Dave NYC

    Nice to see some honesty and intelligence in the whitehouse – its been too long!

    March 21, 2009 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  4. kaz

    We have full confidence in President Barak H Obama, finally we are on the right track. First time we have fresh thinking and smart and hard working people in Washington. President and his team is in office for only two months, we have to give them some time and also expect some mistakes.

    March 21, 2009 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  5. Happy with new President

    Yes, stick with Geithner, and both of them will be here for another 8 y.
    Well done, Mr. President!

    March 21, 2009 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  6. Tom

    The other thing Obama wanted to say, but couldn't is that Bush and Cheney's methods were ILLEGAL.

    Under US and International Law, as well as many treaties that we are signators to.

    I'd love it if someone would just call out the big pink elephant sitting in the room with all this talk or "did or didn't make us safe". It was ILLEGAL, and if other countries and done the same acts, we would be holding their leaders responsible - Milosevic and Hague Courts, anyone?

    March 21, 2009 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  7. Patrick

    And we thought Bush was surrounded by a bunch of cronies...

    March 21, 2009 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  8. Steve, Columbia, SC

    Mr. Geithner should honorably resign, and so should Senator Dodd, but neither will, because there is no change in Washington, DC.

    March 21, 2009 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  9. janet

    you didn't think he would let Geithner go did you?

    March 21, 2009 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  10. Flipper

    Of course Obama is backing such an incompetent person. When people in the real world screw up or are incredibly incompetent, they get fired. In the Democrat Party, these same people get promoted to positions that they're completely unqualified for! But don't worry, I'm sure some of the sheep on this site will still put on their cheerleading outfits, grab their pom-poms, and fasten their blinders to the sides of their heads in order to hail Obama and his brilliant decision-making as the greatest things that ever happened to the U.S.

    March 21, 2009 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  11. Ray Fisher

    The secret here is Geithner's performance on doing his job and stabilizing our banks and the economy not the AIG fiasco of which our entire government is subject to fraud, waste and abuse!!! We are simply waiting on the details Geithner promised weeks ago!!!

    March 21, 2009 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  12. CEO's should make no more than 10 times what his secretary does

    This is leadership from the top. I'm glad THE PRESIDENT made this clear.

    Mr. Geithner needs to have his full compliment of staff in place before he is judged. If he has a MAJOR screwup once that staff is in place (let's say 30 days from now), then we can talk about whether THE PRESIDENT will fire him.

    I do think Mr. Geither is not very politically minded and therefore misread the way the AIG bonuses would be percieved ... regardless of when he found out about them. His "political ignorance" is no reason to fire him though. Given the trouble we are in, he wasn't hired for that. I also don't think he will make that kind of " political" mistake again. Axelrod will fix that piece of the problem.

    March 21, 2009 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  13. Andrew from Illinois

    Does anybody here really expect the recession to be over in 60 days? Geithner is doing all he can without a staff and people are calling for his resignation without even presenting a better candidate of their own or a better plan of their own. If most of Obama's plans work, the recession should be over by 2010 so stop saying Geithner should resign because I have more faith in him than if someone like Phil Gramm was Treasury Secretary.

    March 21, 2009 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  14. Anna, ATL

    Well people, there is sometimes an explanation for everything.

    Some of those 'bonuses' were offered as an incentive to high profile executives to commit for a year or two to AIG rather than jumping ship for another offer, which would have put the corporation in a bigger mess than it already was.

    If my tax money has to bail out a company, I have to recognize that a skeletal crew wont make it better.

    March 21, 2009 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  15. today

    his job should be safe.

    March 21, 2009 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  16. Steve, New York City

    Bush #43 and company spent 8 years destroying the economy . .and you're going to blame the guy who has scarcely been there 2 months, and doesn't even have his full team in place.

    Are people really that stupid?

    March 21, 2009 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |