CBS News (Link) - Stephen W. Smith (April 1, 2009)
Days after GM's CEO Rick Wagoner was forced out by the Obama administration, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner left open the possibility that such moves could happen again.
In an interview with CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric, Geithner acknowledged the government has had to do "exceptional things" – citing AIG as well as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
"We have changed management aboard," he said. "And where we've done that, we've done it because we thought that was necessary to make sure these institutions emerge stronger in the future." When asked if he would leave open the option to pressure a bank CEO to resign, Geithner replied: "Of course."
In a separate interview with ABC News, Geithner said there was no difference in the way the administration has handled the auto and finance industries.
As world leaders convene in London to address the global economic crisis, an increasingly confident Geithner predicted the "strongest coordinated global response" in generations would help revive the world's fractured economy.
Citing initial commitments given by other countries, he said he was confident that broken financial systems would be fixed by growing trade and ensuring markets are expanding.
"You're gonna see the strongest consensus on coordinated global stimulus you've seen in generations," he said. "A very powerful consensus on the kind of 21st century rules of the road for our financial systems."
Geithner acknowledged the enormity of the crisis but said a unified effort would help reverse the financial downturn.
"We're gonna have setbacks ahead," he said. "And that's why it's so important that we're moving together with the world to try to make sure we bring recovery back. And the world is with the president on this."
Geithner also skirted criticism that the Treasury Department still has no mechanism for tracking how banks have spent billions of dollars in TARP money, saying the doled out dollars were showing immediate results.
"Interest rates are now at historic lows … for mortgages," he said. "Millions of Americans are now able to refinance and take advantage of those interest rates. That's gonna reduce monthly payments very materially for millions of Americans."