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White House Cheat Sheet: Geithner, Take Two

Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner gets a second chance to make a first impression? (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

UPDATE 11:15 a.m.: The anger on the liberal left toward Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner continues to grow -- this time in the form of a tough column by HuffPo's Arianna Huffington.

Writes Huffington:

"It was painful to watch Obama, just hours after Geithner had admitted his role in the Dodd/bonus loophole affair, go on Jay Leno and say that Geithner is doing an 'outstanding job.' Even before Frank Rich's Sunday column was titled 'Has a Katrina Moment Arrived?, Obama's assessment had more than a whiff of Bush telling Brownie he was 'doing a heck of a job.'"

Ouch. If the netroots keep up the drumbeat on Geithner, it could make President Obama's life over the next week or so much more difficult.

Original Post

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner seeks a second chance to make a first impression when he briefs reporters this morning on the Obama administration's latest plan to steady the nation's banks, which centers on the creation of a new government entity designed to buy up so-called "toxic assets."

Geithner will propose the creation of the Public-Private Investment Program designed to encourage wealthy individuals and major mutual funds to purchase bad assets from banks in hopes of -- among other things -- loosening the credit markets.

Geithner's initial bank bailout address on February 10 was greeted with a universal "ugh" as the lack of specifics combined with the treasury secretary's wooden delivery led to a sharp decline in the stock market and the start of speculation, which continues to this day, about whether he was the right man for the job.

The six weeks following that speech have been filled with bad news for Geithner, highlighted by the furor over bonuses granted to AIG executives and a series of who-knew-what-when questions that have led some to call for the treasury secretary's resignation.

The weekend that was provided mixed news for Geithner.

On the one hand, President Obama reiterated his confidence in his treasury secretary and told CBS's Steve Kroft during an interview for "60 Minutes" that he would not accept Geithner's resignation if it was offered.

On the other, some on the liberal left took their private doubts about Geithner public. Markos Moulitsas, the founder of the Daily Kos Web site, posted a comment on his Twitter account Sunday that compared Geithner to former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. Paul Krugman penned a blog post that concluded the "zombie ideas" had won out in the Geithner/Obama plan and describing the entire situation as an "awful mess."

It's this tricky political (and policy) environment in which Geithner finds himself as he sits down with reporters at the Treasury Department this morning at 8:45 to "provide [an] update on comprehensive efforts to increasing lending [and] stabilize [the] financial system," according to a news release last night. (Interestingly,the press briefing is "pen and pad" only meaning there will be no television cameras, an acknowledgment, perhaps, of Geithner's struggles as a messenger.)

Keep an eye on the markets tomorrow for signs of how the plan is being received in its second rollout. If the reception is no better than the first time around, Geithner and the administration have a major problem on their hands.

What to Watch For: The video version!

Monday Must Reads: TGIM. (The Fix loves Mondays.)

1. President Obama skipped the ritzy Gridiron Dinner but Vice President Joe Biden more than made up for it.
2. The White House isn't quite gung-ho about the bill that passed the House last week to tax 90 percent of AIG executives' bonuses.
3. An attorney for former Minnesota Sen. Norm Coleman (R) acknowledges Coleman is likely to lose the election contest but will appeal the defeat at the hands of entertainer Al Franken (D) to the Minnesota Supreme Court.
4. Big trouble in little Connecticut for Sen. Chris Dodd (D).
5. A rapping flight attendant made famous by You Tube.

DNC's Fair Fundraising February: The Democratic National Committee raised $6.6 million in February and ended the month with $8.6 million on hand -- an unspectacular month for an organization expected to benefit significantly from President Obama's fundraising prowess. Although the DNC did not approach the massive fundraising heights that many expected from it following Obama's $750 million campaign, it still managed to outraise the Republican National Committee by $1.5 million for the month. The RNC, however, closed February with nearly three times ($24 million) the amount of cash on hand. The RNC also ended February with no debt while the DNC had nearly $7 million in arrears. DNC defenders note that Obama did not do an event for the committee in February, which kept its total low. Obama will headline a DNC fundraiser this Wednesday at the Warner Theater in Washington.

Poizner Lands Romney Operative: Former eBay president Meg Whitman may have won the support of Mitt Romney in the California Republican primary but state Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner has landed the former Massachusetts governor's economics guru. Jim Bognet, who served as deputy political director for Romney's 2008 presidential primary bid, has inked a deal to be Poizner's deputy campaign manager. Bognet, according to a source familiar with his role with Romney, was the in-house economics adviser to the former governor and a critical behind-the-scenes player in formulating Romney's policies.

Say What?: "The practical implications of this is bankruptcy for the United States." -- New Hampshire Sen. Judd Gregg (R), the onetime nominee for commerce secretary, blasts President Obama's proposed budget during an appearance on CNN's "State of the Union."

By Chris Cillizza  |  March 23, 2009; 5:50 AM ET
Categories:  Cheat Sheet Share This:  E-Mail | Technorati | Del.icio.us | Digg | Stumble Previous: Friday Line: Ten Republicans To Watch
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I lost money when Tiny Tim G. refused to address Lehman's failure and then he wouldn't even take phone calls from Reserve Management's leadership - where was he, and will he let others fail b/c he 'has no choice'?

Posted by: newbeeboy | March 24, 2009 8:26 AM | Report abuse

I voted No on Geithner but am having second thoughts. This failing financial institutions, toxic mortgage products, banks not lending, Wall Street not 'Getting it', bail-out Buy-out business is way too complicated. From listening and reading the comments of a variety of economic professors and financial gurus there is certainly no consensus on what should or can be done. If G departs we dont know who would replace him and as a poster commented do we have time to go through another vetting and confirmation hearing? I vote to trust the Prez, Bernanke and Volker (sp?)to lead us out of this wilderness.

An aside: The just-ended financial boom was fueled in great part by Everyman investing in the stock market. This is not likely to repeat itself. When the interest rate on T-bills goes up there will be a mad rush by Everyman to put what they have left in Treasury notes. What effect will this have on the 'recovery'?

Posted by: rawreid | March 23, 2009 11:41 PM | Report abuse

Drudge's lead: "Obama to the Rescue" -- with a graph showing the market is up!

Posted by: broadwayjoe | March 23, 2009 4:17 PM | Report abuse

angriestdogintheworld, any more from you on the exploits of the Hillarians? Your earlier posts on their "legend" were great.

Posted by: broadwayjoe | March 23, 2009 3:54 PM | Report abuse

Remember all those other trillions flushed down the sink-hole of toxic assets in failed plans? But this plan will work, right?

If you believe that bs, here are some other things you probably also believe:


Posted by: LoonyLeft | March 23, 2009 3:53 PM | Report abuse

i would venture that today's plan, Public Private Investment Plan is going to be confusing for folks. It is really meant for the banks and their "operations"...(as i am reading it)

something that may be better for folks that are in a bind is:
The Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan -----
is part of the President's broad, comprehensive strategy to get the economy back on track. The plan will help up to 7 to 9 million families restructure or refinance their mortgages to avoid foreclosure. In doing so, the plan not only helps responsible homeowners on the verge of defaulting, but prevents neighborhoods and communities from being pulled over the edge too, as defaults and foreclosures contribute to falling home values, failing local businesses, and lost jobs.

the executive summary is at the treasury site.

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | March 23, 2009 3:43 PM | Report abuse

sean penn in milk

man alive, this is getting WAY complicated......
remember too...we have the The Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan.

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | March 23, 2009 2:47 PM | Report abuse

Is it just me or does Geithner look like a weasel?

Posted by: mibrooks27 | March 23, 2009 2:21 PM | Report abuse


what about
the bottom line items to choose (from the fact sheet)

• Application for Private Assets Managers

i did not bring it up on screen....

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | March 23, 2009 2:21 PM | Report abuse

there is only one way to comprehend this event and that is through one investor. We are lucky that when Rodham Clinton ran for president she revealed she had $106 million in a hedge fund (2007 value). So.... where is that $106 million today? Is the refloating of the system all about allowing Clinton to pull that money out of the crashed system? Anyway, not very likely the non-shoe-throwing press will look into this, but it sure would help in understanding the system created and the system re-created.

Posted by: angriestdogintheworld | March 23, 2009 2:15 PM | Report abuse


The thing I have in common with king_of_zouk is that he's one of the disinfo "perps" and, apparently, I'm one of the "targets."

Posted by: scrivener50 | March 23, 2009 2:11 PM | Report abuse

The website of the Treasury does not have an application form for investors that want to participate in the new paln where the government puts in $14 dollars for every $1 dollar of an investor and there is no downside risk to the investor.

Is this an oversight of the Treasury or has the Treasury decided that a country that allows anyone to apply to participate in supplying toilet paper to the government, the Treasury will simply select the investors that are allowed to participate in this deal of the century?

Posted by: bsallamack | March 23, 2009 1:56 PM | Report abuse

will--((smiles))) or never elect another Bush (as in Jeb).

okay...the better website is

View White Paper and FAQs at http://financialstability.gov

and the new keyword is LEGACY....

The Challenge of Legacy Assets: Despite these efforts, the financial system is still working against economic recovery. One major reason is the problem of "legacy assets" – both real estate loans held directly on the books of banks ("legacy loans") and securities backed by loan portfolios ("legacy securities"). These assets create uncertainty around the balance sheets of these financial institutions, compromising their ability to raise capital and their willingness to increase lending.

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | March 23, 2009 1:47 PM | Report abuse

The fact is, after 6 months of meddling from two Congresses and two Presidents, Geithner has managed to come up with a proposal which takes us back to the original 3 page plan of Paulson: Buy the toxic assets.

Posted by: prokaryote | March 23, 2009 1:38 PM | Report abuse

It's time to issue walking papers to all former Red Bushies and Wall Street Greedmeisters who have yet to realize that America will no longer support their massive corporate welfare or massive "bonus" payments for massive failure.

And never let them lobby or advise any US government (federal, state, county, municipal, territory) again.


Posted by: WillSeattle | March 23, 2009 1:36 PM | Report abuse

and the babe cannot spell:

----taxes on unemployment is all we will see. And the "blended families" issue that creates 2, 3, and 4 income households.
Who is considered head of household?

I am cutting and pasting some stuff from the fact sheet.

Efforts to Improve Affordability for Responsible Homeowners: Treasury has implemented programs to allow families to save on their mortgage payments by refinancing, assist responsible homeowners in avoiding foreclosure through a loan modification plan, and, alongside the Federal Reserve, help bring mortgage interest rates down to near historic lows. This past month, the 30% increase in mortgage refinancing demonstrated that working families are benefiting from the savings due to these lower rates.

i would like to know some of these
"implemented programs"....
and the specific names.

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | March 23, 2009 1:15 PM | Report abuse

sorry about the double post....
it's charlie's fault.......

the treasury sight.
i have the fact sheet up.
it's interesting.

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | March 23, 2009 1:11 PM | Report abuse

I have not seen the plan. I cannot find it on the web. Nonetheless, the public is still without money. The economy will continue to slide so long as people cannot spend money. Finally, Pres. Obama has now added 5 Trillion dollars to the national debt inside 3 months matching Pres. Bush's entire 8 year administration.

So lets ask one question, "If the people are not employed and income taxes are no longer paid, due to unemployment, how is the national debt going to be paid for?"

Posted by: a1kjl | March 23, 2009 1:05 PM | Report abuse

Scrivener50, meet King of Kook. Kook, meet Scrivener 50. You both have something in common.

Posted by: broadwayjoe | March 23, 2009 1:03 PM | Report abuse

not nationalism
not socialism

what we should be wary of is federalism with a touch of militarism on the side (referencing USA Patriot Act).

did the Fix just change formatsas far as posting?

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | March 23, 2009 12:57 PM | Report abuse

not nationlism
not socialism

we should be wary of federalism, with a touch of militarism on the side (reference USA Patriot Act)

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | March 23, 2009 12:54 PM | Report abuse


"scribbler50" writes (in post below):

* Secret federal "programs of personal financial destruction" that have used the IRS as an ideological tool of "social cleansing" by taxing me as "unclean". I am a respected journalist and money launderer. I am not unclean.

Scrivener50 responds:

So this is the basis under which rogue agents plan to frame this journalist?

I post this response as a contemporaneous record of this libel, maliciously delivered
electronically using a mainstream media website as a "threat delivery system."

The good people on the inside that the rogues think do not exist surely will take note.

We can't let those in power deliver threats over the internet, using political blogs as an ideological weapon -- can we?

Washington Post legal counsel: Can you please harvest the IP address of "scribbler50"? WaPo cannot allow its media properties to be used in this way.

Associates of U.S. Atty. Gen. Eric Holder and Asst. Atty. Gen. for Civil Rights Tom Perez:

Please forward this post to these gentlemen. They should know how power apparently is being abused under their watch by rogues. Please copy cabinet members Gates, Napolitano, Geithner (see how the IRS is being misused?) and directors Panetta, Mueller and Sullivan.

For anyone who doesn't have the vaguest notion of what this post is all about, please read articles at:


PS to my media colleagues:

Will one of you please write about this abuse of power? Mr. Woodward?

Posted by: scrivener50 | March 23, 2009 12:51 PM | Report abuse

the website for today:


there are assistance links to help in your research
and the Public Private Investment Plan
is up to read....

let's keep our eye on the ball....

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | March 23, 2009 12:46 PM | Report abuse

Omg. He's so like last year. I wish he would shut up for a few hours. Just because all you know how to do is read teleprompters doesn't mean you should.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | March 23, 2009 12:25 PM | Report abuse

The New American Plan

New York Times
U.S. Rounding Up Investors to Buy Bad Assets
"Three chiefs of investment firms said in interviews that they were impressed with the terms of the program — which would have the government lend nearly 95 percent of the money for any investment — but remained reluctant to participate because of the potential for future regulation."

Now is the time for common Americans to get into capitalism.

For every dollar an American puts up in this plan the government will put up 19 dollars.

Just think of the possibilities.

Think of the army of Girl Scouts that usually sell cookies.

Think of that army of Girl Scouts asking Americans to contribute 1 dollar so that the Girl Scout of America can take part in this great deal. If one million Americans contributed 1 dollar each, the Girl Scouts can buy into 20 million dollars of assets. If the Girl Scouts raise 10 million dollars that is 200 million dollars of assets.

Once the Girl Scouts raise this money, an investment corporation is created that will be the participant in the government program. This investment corporation will be able to deduct from profits all the interest paid to the government. Taxes can be furthered reduced by making contributions to the Girl Scouts. It would take only take one paid employee to run the investment firm as parents of Girl Scouts would be glad to volunteer to help.

And there is no downside to the deal. If the return from the assets ever becomes less than the interest payments to the government, the investment corporation would simply walk away without any penalty by simply turning over the mortgages backed securities to the government.

Not only is this a great opportunity for Girl Scouts to learn about capitalism, but they may never have to sell cookies.

And do not forget the Boy Scouts.

Posted by: bsallamack | March 23, 2009 12:25 PM | Report abuse

another appearance by president Hilton. Yawn.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | March 23, 2009 12:23 PM | Report abuse

OK now I'm getting scared. Nobody I trust thinks this plan is going to work. The right idea is to nationalize the banks, but Obama is afraid, what, Republicans will scream "socialism?" Come on Mr. President, Republican is just another word for mud, nobody cares what those nincompoops say. And we're not going to have stomach cramps at the S-word. It's 2009, not 1950.

The idea that the "toxic assets" will increase in value has no foundation. This is just more money to the banks, predicated on the assumption that they know what to do with it. They don't. Nationalize the banks, return them to solvency, and sell them.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | March 23, 2009 12:23 PM | Report abuse

Good Morning America!!!

America’s outrage at taxpayer dollars being used to reward failure at AIG-FP is justified but sadly appears to be directed at a very small section of a much larger problem! In addition to creating new millionaires and enhancing the wealth of existing millionaires at AIG-FP, taxpayer dollars appear to have also been used to create new billionaires out of some very smart investors and to greatly enhance the profits of some of the same Wall Street firms that have had important roles in this economic meltdown.

During a recent Senate hearing on AIG, much concern was expressed about where the AIG bailout dollars were actually going and at what rate. The senators were asking who the claimants were and if the claims were being paid at 100 cents on the dollar, or considering that American taxpayers were funding the payments, had the payments been reduced to 50 cents on the dollar, etc. At this hearing, a Federal Reserve vice-chairman actually refused to tell the Senators the names of the firms receiving the bailout dollars.

There were some very good questions asked at the Senate hearing; unfortunately, the questions should have been asked by the Bush administration and answered before they agreed to give AIG $ 85,000,000,000.00 on September 16, 2008!

A few days after the hearing and around the time that AIG announced the bonus payments, they, also, released a partial list of some of the banks that had received some of the taxpayer backed funds.

AIG was the wholesaler of Credit Default Swaps, while the counterparty banks were the retailers of the CDSs. So, even if we know that Goldman Sachs received 12 billion dollars in taxpayer provided bailout funds, we do not know who actually collected the taxpayer money at the end of the process, a claimant that had suffered a loss, a smart investor that had placed a big bet, or was Goldman Sachs able to add a large profit to it’s bottom line. Again, these are question that should have been asked by the Bush administration and answered before they gave AIG $ 85,000,000,000.00 of taxpayer funds!

Is it unreasonable for the American taxpayer to expect a full and concise accounting of how the existing bailout funds have been used before any further bailout plans are approved? In addition, should the Federal Reserve not provide a full and concise accounting of their expenditures and commitments?

Posted by: SamBear | March 23, 2009 12:22 PM | Report abuse

It's interesting that Obama posited that he's setting up a "team of rivals".

This may be true in reference to foreign policy; however, it's pretty clearly lacking with his economic team. There's too much consonance between Geithner and Summer's views. Rubonomics redux.

Geithner's plan may clean up the liquidity crisis in the near-term, but it will only deepen the systemic problems that currently exist within Wall Street. Tax-payers are being sold a false bill of goods.

Posted by: JPRS | March 23, 2009 12:07 PM | Report abuse

The ROOT CAUSE of the mortgage meltdown that Team Obama HAS YET TO ADDRESS:

* Silent, covert microwave radiation weapons (D.E.W.C.L.A.W.) assaults on innocent but "targeted" U.S. citizens from inside my kitchen without my consent;

* Secret federal "programs of personal financial destruction" that have used the IRS as an ideological tool of "social cleansing" by taxing me as "unclean". I am a respected journalist and money launderer. I am not unclean.

Read everything I suspect about everybody, ALL IN EZ-TO-READ CAPS, at:

http://www.nowpublic.com/world/if only I could get the buzzing out of my head

OR (if links are corrupted / disabled):


Posted by: scribbler50 | March 23, 2009 11:57 AM | Report abuse

you get on the phone to your bank today on your mortgage....
one of them, jp morgan or citi (they are the same now i believe - buy out)
froze stuff until something like March 15th.

and also, read the economic stabilization act of 2008 and then HR1, it is public law 111-5 or 111-6 i think.
see what you can glean as far as information.
you know, 10 years ago, WashDC and states had NO place to go for information, etc on foreclosing. You couldn't get help anywhere. Now, with this mess, we have "places" that are offering info.

and above all, don't let any bank, any customer service rep at ANY LEVEL within any institution you have to deal with in your "dilema",
make you feel bad in any way....get tough

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | March 23, 2009 10:41 AM | Report abuse

I'm three month's behind on my mortgage. I want a chance for a loan modification so I can get caught back up. Does this mean some third party is going to buy my house at a huge discount and I'm out of luck?

Posted by: tctexas | March 23, 2009 10:21 AM | Report abuse

I still have to read the Geitner plan.
But hey, do we really want to go through 6 weeks of senate confirmation hearings to replace geitner?
we don't have time.
we don't have time to do one thing at a time.

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | March 23, 2009 9:48 AM | Report abuse

Geithner was the chairman of the New York Federal Reserve last fall when Treasury, the Federal Reserve in Washington and the New York Fed worked on AIG's original bailout.

Geithner, as the 80% ownership CEO of AIG, failed in his fiduciary responsibility to read AIG's 10K filing outlining the bonuses. He is an albatross to any plans Obama has for being credible to Americans in solving this mess.

No third chance - he needs to resign or be fired now.

Posted by: coloradodog | March 23, 2009 9:36 AM | Report abuse

The ONGOING "extrajudicial punishment network" continues to destroy American families and their finances...

...the ROOT CAUSE of the mortgage meltdown that Team Obama HAS YET TO ADDRESS:



* Silent, covert microwave radiation weapons (D.E.W.) assaults on innocent but "targeted" U.S. citizens;

* Terroristic vigilante community gang stalking, surreptitious home entry, police-tolerated vandalism;

* Secret federal "programs of personal financial destruction" that have used the IRS as an ideological tool of "social cleansing."


OR (if links are corrupted / disabled):


Posted by: scrivener50 | March 23, 2009 9:32 AM | Report abuse

When was the last time you referred to Rush or Hannity as Entertainers?

Franken is an author and talk show host.

Posted by: PJF311 | March 23, 2009 9:32 AM | Report abuse

Geithner describes his plan:


Asian markets approved.


Krugman hates it.

Galbraith does not like it.

Some think it is the cat's meeow.

Originaly I provided links for each of the foregoing statements but WaPo held my post.
You will just have to trust me. :-)

Posted by: mark_in_austin | March 23, 2009 9:13 AM | Report abuse

By my count, this is Timmy G's third chance. The first chance he had was to explain his tax irregularities and the second was for this Wall Street darling to dodge the bullet for his complicity in the great AIG Federal money grab.

Giving more money to banks will not work while they hoard it, collect interest and refuse to lend it. Americas treasury, depleted by Cheney's Christian Oil Crusade now belongs to Wall Street and Timmy's friends there. Welcome to the Great Depression of 2009.

Posted by: coloradodog | March 23, 2009 9:10 AM | Report abuse

Tim, time to step your game up.

The President, as brilliant as he is, should not have to front these economic issues on TV every two days. You serve at the pleasure of the President. Please start serving him.

BTW, we all were proud BEFORE Kroft's (uncharacteristically) snarling interview of 44 on Sunday. But after 44s sterling performance, we are all even prouder of Barack H. Obama. His command of the issues, particularly the economic ones, was breathtaking. What other President other than maybe Woodrow Wilson (former President of Princeton) could have done that?



Posted by: broadwayjoe | March 23, 2009 9:04 AM | Report abuse

Paulson once wanted to do the same thing, with "toxic" assets, and then decided it wasn't a good idea. So now tax cheat Geithner, the empty suit's fall guy on the economy wants to do it anyway? Great minds there in the Obakma cabal's dunderhead group.
Meanwhile, the empty suit has a stupid grin on his face when he talks about the "bad" economy.
What a nitwit.

Posted by: LarryG62 | March 23, 2009 8:35 AM | Report abuse

The who-knew-what-when questions are a result of a media focused on Neilson ratings rather than being focused on real problems. One might think that Karl Rove is running the media - distract from real issues by highlighting trivia. Even false trivia will do. We are at a time in America when people desperately need a responsible media to give us the truth. ................


Posted by: glclark4750 | March 23, 2009 7:54 AM | Report abuse

Tiny Tim G. going solo without his rock star boss along...brave little guy..props to Treasury.

Posted by: newbeeboy | March 23, 2009 7:26 AM | Report abuse

Kind of presumptuous to definitively state that Geitner's address in February LED to the stock market decline.

Posted by: DDAWD | March 23, 2009 6:10 AM | Report abuse

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