Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner made his first public remarks about the S&P downgrade of U.S. debt Sunday in an interview with CNBC’s John Harwood.
Geithner said the ratings agency showed “really terrible judgment” and a “stunning lack of knowledge about basic U.S. fiscal budget maths,” adding “they reached absolutely the wrong conclusion.”
He said the policies of the Obama administration are “absolutely not” responsible for the downgrade.
“There is no risk the—the United States of America would ever not be in a position to meet its obligations,” he said.
During the debt ceiling negotiations, the Obama administration repeatedly stated just the opposite was true if the borrowing limit wasn’t raised.
Asked whether Treasuries remain as safe as they were before the downgrade, Geithner replied, “Absolutely. And the judgment by S&P changed nothing.”
He also called on European leaders to establish a “unequivocal financial backstop” for countries mired in fiscal and debt problems.
Geithner also addressed his decision to stay in his post through at least the 2012 election.
“I think if a president asks you to serve, you have to do it,” he said, adding that he believes in President Barack Obama and his agenda. “I love my work,” he said.
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