The Washington Post reports today that Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner proposed Hillary Clinton step in to replace him at the Treasury so that he could step down in the spring of 2011, but that the idea was eventually nixed by the White House.
From the Post report:
Before he could depart, Geithner had to convince the White House. He needed to find someone who could glide through Senate confirmation, comprehend the growing debt crises, here and abroad, and communicate administration goals in the upcoming debt-ceiling debate to Congress, to Wall Street, and to the world.
The talks gained traction inside the White House before being scuttled shortly before the debt-ceiling talks on Capitol Hill intensified, according to two current and one former administration official.
The cabinet shuffle made sense, according to the officials, because Clinton could fulfil all those requirements. Plus, she was ready for a break from what she had described as a “gruelling,” travel-heavy job [as Secretary of State.]”
According to the Post, Clinton actually expressed “cautious interest” in the switch, and Wall Street was pretty sold on the idea, given Clinton’s ties to the financial services industry and sharp political intuition.
But the White House was reportedly worried about Clinton’s loyal aides, who had frequently clashed with the President’s staff when she took over the Secretary of State post.
Plus, President Obama really didn’t want Geithner to leave, especially with the looming debt ceiling showdown. Eventually, Obama sweet-talked Geither’s into letting him stay, at least through the 2012 election.
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