It’s a question people in Washington are starting to ask.
Geithner, though considered a brilliant policy wonk and financial strategist behind closed doors, has not been a hit with the public or Congress as the administration struggles to tame the economic crisis.
Instead, he has become the administration’s chief magnet for negative attention. He spent his confirmation hearings explaining why he failed to pay some of his taxes. He muffed the rollout of his most important policy initiative, the bank rescue plan. He failed to stop AIG from paying out $165 million in bonuses — which reminded Congress and the public that he was one of the people who presided over the AIG deal in the first place.
Cabinet secretaries are supposed to deflect fire away from the president, not draw it toward him. But President Obama is now spending a good chunk of his time coming to the defense of his beleaguered Treasury chief. “He is a smart guy, and he’s a calm and steady guy,” Obama said in his appearance on Jay Leno’s “Tonight Show” on Thursday, a deliberately chosen opportunity to reach out to middle America. “I don’t think people fully appreciate the plate that was handed him. This guy has not just a banking crisis; he’s got the worst recession since the Great Depression. … I think Geithner is doing an outstanding job.”
Obama Supports Geithner (Again)