When former Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner asked Bill Clinton for advice about opposition to the bank bailout, the ex-president encouraged him to imagine murdering Goldman Sachs Chairman Lloyd Blankfein. Geithner recounted Clinton’s words of wisdom, which were designed to warn him against trying to appease those who were raging against Wall Street during the height of the financial crisis, in an interview with the New York Times Magazine that was published online Thursday.
“You could take Lloyd Blankfein into a dark alley,” Clinton said, according to Geithner. “And slit his throat, and it would satisfy them for about two days. Then the blood lust would rise again.”
Geithner spoke with the Times’ Andrew Ross Sorkin to promote his upcoming book “Stress Test: Reflections on Financial Crises,” which is due out May 12. In addition to the story about Clinton’s cutthroat advice, Sorkin also shared an interesting quote from the book about an awkward run-in Geithner had with Larry Summers when President Barack Obama was considering both men as potential picks to head the Treasury Department.
According to Geithner, while he was en route to meet with Obama, he saw Summers at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago.
“I ran into Larry, who was, I’m pretty sure, in the process of checking the Intrade odds on Obama’s choice for Treasury,” Geithner wrote. “It was kind of awkward for both of us. I told Larry I had not sought the job and had urged Obama to choose him as secretary, which didn’t really make the situation less awkward.”
Geithner also told Sorkin he began asking Obama to let him leave Treasury in 2010. He said he even proposed alternative options including Hillary Clinton and Erskine Bowles. Obama apparently responded by lobbying Geithner’s wife, Carole.
“I was not easily convinced,” Carole told Sorkin. “That was probably a little surprising to the president.”
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