The book states [Timothy] Geithner and the Treasury Department ignored a March 2009 order to consider dissolving banking giant Citigroup while continuing stress tests on banks, which were burdened with toxic mortgage assets.
In the book, Obama does not deny Suskind’s account, but does not reveal what he told Geithner when he found out. “Agitated may be too strong a word,” Suskind quotes Obama as saying….Suskind states that Obama accepts the blame for mismanagement in his administration while noting that restructuring the financial system was complicated and could have resulted in deeper financial harm. One of the major complaints about Obama’s administration is that it was too easy on major financial institutions, including Citi.
….Larry Summers, the former White House economic adviser, is quoted as lamenting that he and others felt “home alone” and that mistakes made under Obama would not have happened under President Clinton, for whom Summers also served. Interviewed by Suskind, Summers initially denied making such comments, then acknowledged them, saying he was frustrated at having “five issues” of major importance to deal with at once and not “five times as many” officials to handle them.
Granted, it’s not clear what it means to ignore an order to “consider” dissolving Citigroup. Still, considering that “agitated” in Obama would be about like a white hot rage in most people, it suggests that Obama was plenty cheesed off if this is even close to describing his reaction.
As for Summers, WTF? Is he seriously whining about not having a big enough staff? Or not having enough of the president’s ear? Or what? I guess I’ll have to wait to read the book to find out. But it doesn’t sound pretty.