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Geithner, grilled on Capitol Hill over AIG coverup, plans outreach to Main Street -- good luck with that

January 27, 2010 |  8:10 am

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner listens to President Obama Jan. 21, 2010

He came in on a wave of controversy -- the former International Monetary Fund official who neglected to pay his taxes. President Obama stuck by him, and he won Senate confirmation as Treasury secretary.

Then Timothy Geithner, former president of the New York Federal Reserve Bank, inspired a wave of suspicion over the government's decision to bail out insurance giant AIG. In testimony before a House panel today, Geithner defended the action, calling the bailout "the best of the available alternatives." He  repeated that he had nothing to do with a flurry of e-mails at the New York Fed asking AIG to hide the bailout because he recused himself once he was nominated to Treasury.

California Republican Darrell Issa, for one, isn't buying it. “If you were recused, where is the document, what were you recused from?” Issa said in an interview with Bloomberg. “You didn’t stop going to the office, so your recusal seems to be after the fact.”

The slingshots fired at Geithner on Capitol Hill seem to be echoing throughout the country. According to a new Wall Street Journal/NBC poll, just 11% of Americans feel positively about Gethner. Nearly 1 in 5 has negative feelings about him, and more than half said they didn't know his name or weren't sure.

But the White House -- eager to pivot toward job creation in the wake of Scott Brown's upset victory in Massachusetts -- is sending Geithner on the road. According to aides, Geithner plans to travel to Minneapolis to tour a Honeywell factory and conduct a round-table discussion with local business leaders, all in an effort to promote green jobs.

Maybe he'll do better out there than he is in here.

-- Johanna Neuman

Photo credit: Getty Images

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