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Geithner Meets Shouting Journalists

Tim Geithner answered his first questions from the media today since he was sworn in as Treasury Secretary on Monday night, even though he tried not to, The Post's David Cho reports.

Right before entering a large conference room where Geithner was meeting with lawmakers and other congressional officials, the hoard of journalists was told to not ask any questions. Yeah, that's usually a good way to keep journalists quiet.

They fired away, anyway, that being their job. Over the protest of Treasury media officials, a reporter shouted out a question on whether Geithner was considering establishing a bad bank to buy toxic assets off the balance sheets of banks. A second asked whether Geithner would consider nationalizing banks outright.

Geithner parried the first question. “We are looking at a range of options,” he said.

To the second, he responded: “We have a financial system that is run by private shareholders, managed by private institutions, and we'd like to do our best to preserve that system.”

Immediately after that response, Treasury officials yelled, “No more questions! No more questions!” The media scrum was ushered out of the room.

And another love affair between a government official and the press was launched.

Also today, as David Cho and The Ticker reported, Treasury said it wants to make the $700 billion government bailout/rescue plan more transparent.

To that end, Treasury has assembled the bailout contracts handed out thus far in one place, which can be seen here.

By way of reminder, Treasury listed the entities that have thus far received bailout money, broken down by category, complete with helpful jargon translation:

Capital Purchase Program: (Direct government investment into banks, otherwise known as partial nationalization.)
- Bank of America
- The Goldman Sachs Group
- Morgan Stanley
- Citigroup
- JPMorgan Chase
- Wells Fargo & Co.
- Bank of New York Mellon
- State Street
- Merrill Lynch (now part of Bank of America)

Targeted Investment Program:
(Prop-up of troubled bank with hammered stock.)
- Citigroup

Systematically Significant Failing Institutions: (Emergency bailout of entity so big it could drag down everything else.)

Automotive Industry Financing Program: (Emergency loans to stay in business.)
- GM
- Chrysler

-- Frank Ahrens
The Ticker is Twittering!

By Frank Ahrens  |  January 28, 2009; 3:26 PM ET
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Geither, bailout  
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