CNN National Political Correspondent
WASHINGTON (CNN) — Slouching alone at the head table before a room of business reporters today, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner looked like an overgrown prep school student facing the expulsion board. It wasn’t what he said, but his demeanor as he said it.
Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner has faced stiff criticism over his handling of the financial crisis.
Cautious, gazing out from deep-set eyes — he seemed to shrink from the room. And the room was skeptical.
Geithner unveiled the new “Public-Private Investment Program,” in which taxpayer funds will be used to seed partnerships with private investors that will buy up toxic assets backed by mortgages and other loans.
When the secretary calmly said that taxpayers would get a fair shake in the deal because the funds in question “are managed by professionals who know how to do this for a living,” one reporter could be heard sighing, “oh, great.”
The wariness was mutual. Asked whether he thought this economic plan would play well outside Washington, Geithner offered a wry smile. “I’m confident that you and your colleagues will do a good job of framing this thing.”(“Framing this thing”? it’s like a used car salesman trying to con you into buying the worst car on the lot! and Geither’s banking on Washington to sell this toxic plan to the public? WTF!)