Treasury Secretary Geithner Sheds His First-Class Image
UPDATED, 5:32 p.m. ET with comment from Treasury
For those of you still outraged over Timothy Geithner's income tax lapse, maybe you'll take comfort in this: at least the Treasury secretary isn't flying first class these days.
Passengers were relieved to see Geithner joining the commoners in coach on the 7:30 p.m. Delta shuttle Sunday night from New York to Washington.
As one Sleuth informant who was on that flight told us, Geithner appears to be "so humbled" that he chose to ride with "the rest of the ordinary folks." (Among the "ordinary" folk flying coach on the Delta shuttle was Lynn Blitzer, wife of the one-and-only and very unordinary Wolf Blitzer).
Customers on the shuttle are used to seeing government bigwigs opting for first class, where the airline routinely seats Cabinet secretaries as a courtesy for "security reasons." And these days, of course, with the pin stripes on aching Wall Street all sullied and tattered, fewer passengers are willing to pay for first class. So needless to say, there were seats available to Geithner.
But he bypassed first class and went straight to coach, no doubt walking past folks who got a good chuckle out of the Greek tragedy-gone-awry cartoon in Sunday's business section of the New York Times depicting Geithner surviving his tax fiasco, which you can see here.
Treasury Department spokesman Isaac Baker says Geithner "flies coach when he goes back to New York," where his wife (a social worker) and his children (who attend public school) still live.
Geithner, the lucky lone survivor in a trifecta of Obama administration nominees who failed to pay their taxes, is part of a trend, it would seem, in low-profile travel.
Two weeks ago, Susan Rice, soon after she was confirmed to be President Obama's ambassador to the United Nations, was spotted riding in coach on a morning Delta shuttle from Washington to New York.
So maybe even if the "no drama" part of Obama hasn't quite taken hold with his fledgling Cabinet, his message of egalitarian inclusiveness has. At least when it comes to flying.
Mary Ann Akers
February 9, 2009; 12:20 PM ET
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