Schieffer Gives Geithner Softest Interview in History

by Tim Cavanaugh

Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer treated former secretary of the treasury Tim Geithner to a very special sendoff for his book Stress Test Sunday. After praising Geithner for his success in “bringing the country back from the worst recession since the 1930s,” the longtime CBS fixture lobbed a series of “did you like the ice cream“-style questions to the longtime media favorite. Schieffer’s line of inquiry:

Was Geithner hurt by his habit of putting truth-telling above public relations? (In part, though Schieffer graciously adds that he always found Geithner an impressive young man.)

Did the Obama administration pressure him to sugarcoat news? (No.)

What advice does he have for President Obama on the Veterans Administration scandal? (Geithner is confident in the president’s handling of the problem.)

What does Geithner think of left-wing Democratic senator Elizabeth Warren’s critique — not of Geithner himself but of the banking system? (The U.S. economy is very innovative.)

What did Geithner learn on the job? (Washington is a very tough place.)

What does Geithner think of the state of the U.S. economy? (Will take time to heal after the worst crisis since the Great Depression.)

Geithner also took the opportunity to reiterate some of the apocalyptic rhetoric that underscored the big spending of the Bush and Obama administrations (necessary to “protect people from the consequence of collapse,” “protect people from mass unemployment,” and “keep the lights on in the economy”) and to point out that economic “rescue” packages “are deeply unpopular because it looks like you’re giving aid to the arsonists.”