Warner says Geithner should not step down “at this point”
PresidentBarack Obama did his best yesterday to attempt to quell the gathering storm surrounding his Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner. Geithner has been on the hot seat it seems, since the day he was appointed. Now he is facing quite a few Republican legislators who are suggesting that he step down from his post.
On Saturday during an interview for 60 minutes that will air tonight, the President said that he has no intention of pushing Geithner out and even said that if the Secretary tendered his resignation that Mr. Obama would not accept it.
While it is clear that Geithner seems to have weathered this storm, (He did recieve the endorsement of Obama’s campaign rival John McCain) he is by no means comfortable in his position. The flap over the AIG bonuses has fallen directly at his feet. While Geithner does have the President’s full confidence, other Democratic elected officials seem a little reluctant to voice their unqualified support.
Virginia Senator Mark Warner falls into that camp. I spoke to Senator Warner on Thursday. The day that Congressional leaders were grilling AIG’s CEO. I had to ask Warner twice about whether or not Geithner should step down. Here is his response to the question the second time I asked.
My question was: “So do you believe the Secretary should step down?”
To which Warner replied: “At this point, no, I do no not. I think we’ve got to make sure that in this extraordinary circumstance that the kind of outrageous behavior of AIG is not allowed to be continued. That these employees who were out of this London based derivatives selling unit, the cancer that basically corrupted the entire AIG organization. That those types of retention bonuses do not stand and while I understand contractual law if they don’t give them back directly I think what you are going to see and in this case if could have been the treasury alone, it had to be the Congress to act this very, very onerous north of 90 percent tax rates on these payments.”
Note that Warner said “At this point, no”. Much different from the unqualified support given by President Obama.
The video of Senator Warner’s response is after the jump..