Geithner Blew Off Obama's Order to Dissolve Citigroup

New book says Obama's team routinely undermined him

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted Sep 16, 2011 11:27 AM CDT

(Newser) – In March 2009, in the throes of the financial crisis, Barack Obama told Tim Geithner to focus on a proposal to dissolve Citigroup—but the Treasury Secretary ignored him and never developed a plan, according to former Wall Street Journal reporter Ron Suskind’s new book Confidence Men. In the book, which was obtained early by the AP and the New York Times, Suskind writes that Obama’s “authority was being systematically undermined or hedged by his seasoned advisers.”

Obama does not deny the incident. Asked how he reacted, he replied, “Agitated may be too strong a word.” Later he laments that “the speed with which the bureaucracy could exercise my decision was slower than I wanted.” But Geithner took issue with the account, saying, “I don’t slow walk the president on anything.” The book also accuses Larry Summers of “re-litigating” Obama’s decisions, reveals a host of rivalries amidst Obama’s team, and says that several female staffers complained that they were being talked over and ignored at meetings.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner listens to President Barack Obama during a Rose Garden address in this file photo.
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner listens to President Barack Obama during a Rose Garden address in this file photo.   (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
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