WASHINGTON — Timothy Geithner says in a new memoir that he considered stepping down as Treasury secretary in 2010 after the financial crisis and suggested Hillary Rodham Clinton as a possible successor.
President Barack Obama rebuffed Geithner’s suggestion, and he remained at Treasury until 2013.
Geithner’s memoir will be published next week. Today, The Associated Press bought an early copy.
Geithner writes of the incident in “Stress Test,” which explores his turbulent four years at Treasury. During his tenure, the Obama administration faced the worst recession and most severe financial crisis since the Great Depression.
In proposing that the White House consider Clinton as his successor, Geithner cited her star power as secretary of state. Among the other names Geithner suggested was Jack Lew, who succeeded him last year.
No Treasury secretary since the Depression confronted so many financial threats at once. Geithner’s supporters said he deserved credit for helping steady the banking system, restore investor confidence and avert a complete meltdown.
His critics countered that Geithner’s policies consistently favored big banks and neglected ordinary Americans, including many struggling to save their homes after a wave of foreclosures followed the housing bust.
When Geithner became Treasury secretary in January 2009, the economy had sunk into a deep recession. Unemployment was surging, and the financial system was teetering.
Having previously led the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Geithner had worked with his predecessor at Treasury, Henry Paulson, and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke to craft the government’s early response to the financial crisis. The crisis erupted in the fall of 2008 with the fall of investment bank Lehman Brothers and the government takeover of mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
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