Obama Says He Wouldn’t Accept Geithner’s Resignation

Published: March 21, 2009

President Obama told CBS in an interview for “60 Minutes” that he wouldn’t accept embattled Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner’s resignation if Geithner were to offer it.

Obama joked that if Geithner tried to give up the position, the president would say, “Sorry buddy, you’ve still got the job.”

Geithner has been criticized over his handling of AIG after news broke this month that bailed-out company had doled out millions of dollars in bonuses. That controversy and criticism of Geithner’s efforts to revive the economy have prompted some Republicans to call for his resignation.

CBS released excerpts of the interview with Obama on Saturday. In it, the president also says corporate executives need to better understand the public’s outrage over bonuses. He says executives should get out of New York and spend time in Iowa or Arkansas where people are thrilled to be making $75,000 a year with no bonuses.

The interview is scheduled to air Sunday evening.

Geithner is expected to unveil, as early as Monday, the administration’s plan to relieve banks of the toxic loans that helped fuel the the recession.

In the interview, Obama also discussed the Guantanamo Bay detention center. Obama said the U.S. hasn’t done a good job sorting out who should be released from the facility in Cuba because some have rejoined terrorist groups. He also said U.S. officials have not always been effective in determining which prisoners will be a danger once they are let go.

But he said the Bush administration’s policy of holding detainees for years on end with no trials is “unsustainable,’ and has only fueled anti-American sentiments.

Obama also fired back at former Vice President Dick Cheney’s claim that plans to close Guantanamo will make America less safe.

“How many terrorists have actually been brought to justice under the philosophy that is being promoted by Vice President Cheney?” he asked. “It hasn’t made us safer. What it has been is a great advertisement for anti-American sentiment.”

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