The Corner

re ‘How the Fed Failed to Tell Obama…’

To follow up on Kathryn’s and Marc’s posts, this is from the WaPo article:

“I was stunned when I learned how bad this was on Tuesday [March 10],” Geithner said. “I shouldn’t have been in that position, but it’s my responsibility and I accept that.”

Two days later, Geithner told the White House. The last-minute disclosure irked some of the president’s senior advisers, but they refuse to point fingers now, saying the timing had little impact on the outcome or the president’s public statements this week…

Obama learned of the bonuses March 12, the day before they were paid out, from Axelrod, whom Geithner had briefed on the situation. The president was “aggravated” and “a little bit disbelieving,” Axelrod said in an interview yesterday.

Assume that this version of the story is plausible, despite what the AIG executives are saying. It means that President Obama still knew about the bonuses days in advance of his angry speech on Monday, and actually had conversations about it with members of his administration. So was he still unaware after this that his own administration had specifically pressured Congress to allow such bonuses — not just implicitly, but explicitly — in the stimulus package a month earlier?

If so, then on what grounds could Obama possibly complain about the bonuses on Monday? And if not, then why did he sign a stimulus package whose contents are a mystery to him? Given what we know now, how can his Monday performance be described as anything but insincere?


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