Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner ignored President Barack Obama’s order to consider dissolving Citigroup, a new book by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Ron Suskind claims.
And that is just one example of how Obama’s authority was “systematically undermined or hedged by his seasoned advisers,” writes Suskind, a former Wall Street Journal reporter,
The Associated Press, which got an early look at “Confidence Men: Wall Street, Washington and The Education of A President,” says Obama didn’t deny the Citigroup anecdote in an interview with the author and spoke vaguely about his own reaction to the incident.
“Agitated may be too strong a word,” Obama, one of the more than 200 people interviewed for the book, is quoted as saying.
In another part of the book, Obama says “the speed with which the bureaucracy could exercise my decision was slower than I wanted.”
Geithner, on the other hand, told the author, “I don’t slow walk the president on anything.”
In Feb. 2009, just months after the Citigroup was rescued in a massive federal bailout, it was announced that the Obama administration would take more than a third of the firm’s equity stake in the company by turning billions in emergency aid into common shares, in an effort to prevent the bank’s bankruptcy.
Others interviewed by Suskind include Larry Summers, Obama’s former economic adviser who resigned in Sept. 2010 to return to his teaching post at Harvard. Summers is quoted in the book as saying that he and others in the administration “felt alone,” and that the mistakes made under Obama would not have been made under President Bill Clinton, his former boss.
Other observations made in Suskind’s book include the fact that the president’s former chief of staff Rahm Emanuel wasn’t Obama’s first choice for the post, the AP reports.
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