BY ZACH TOOMBS
As if the White House didn’t have enough to deal with as is, a new book that hits shelves Tuesday is making waves and reflecting poorly on President Obama and his economic team. CNN reports.
“It’s title is ‘Confidence Men: Wall Street, Washington and the Education of a President.’ And it’s written by former Wall Street reporter Ron Suskind. He interviewed over 200 people, including the president, for this book. And, essentially, it looks at what was going on in the White House during the financial crisis of 2008. It is a very critical book. It says the White House economic team was plagued with internal rivalries and a treasury secretary that dragged his feet on some major decisions.”
The New York Times is among the few publications that already have their hands on a copy of the book, which asserts that Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner routinely ignored the president’s orders on the economy. The Times says:
“Some decisions, including one to overhaul the debt-ridden Citibank, were carried out sluggishly or not at all by a resistant Treasury secretary, Timothy F. Geithner, according to the book.”
The book also includes a controversial quote from former National Economic Council Chairman Larry Summers. Politico reports:
Former White House economic adviser Larry Summers, according to Suskind, told then-OMB director Peter Orszag that as far as economic policy, “There’s no adult in charge. Clinton would never have made these mistakes.’”
But Summers flatly denied the quote Saturday, calling Suskind’s book a combination of fiction, distortion and words taken out of context. Another White House staffer quoted in the book calling the White House a hostile work environment for women also accused Suskind of stretching the truth. FOX has her comment.
“In the book, according to The Washington Post, Suskind quotes former White House Communications Director Anita Dunn as saying the White House would fit all of the ‘classic legal requirements for a genuinely hostile workplace for women.’ But Dunn told the Post yesterday that she did not say that.”
The White House even went as far as to release a statement specifically addressing the claims in “Confidence Men.” FOX and Friends has part of the response.
“Books like these tend to take the normal day to day activities of governing and infuse them with drama, palace intrigue and salacious details based on anonymous accounts.”
Despite the denials, the book’s highly publicized release has plenty of pundits questioning Obama’s handle on both the economy and his economic team.
On MSNBC’s The Dylan Ratigan Show, guests posed the question, is the president really the person in charge of the U.S. economy?
“Its seems the classic narrative of the Obama administration -- that ‘the guy’s not tough enough.’ And I don’t know if it’s true or not, but this is the story that you hear on the street, all over the place -- that the guy’s not tough, that he doesn’t have enough cajones, that he’s not running his ship. He wants everybody to be happy, which is what he wanted all the way back from Harvard. He wants to be liked. He wants everyone to feel like their getting their way. And consensus is hard. We need a leader.”
Although debates over the actual text drawn from interviews in the book will likely boil down to “he-said-she-said,” Politico notes that there are plenty of smaller errors in “Confidence Men” that should be some cause for concern.
His new book is marred by a variety of minor mistakes. Suskind renders financial journalist Erin Burnett as “Erin Burkett.” (The error is faithfully echoed in the index.) And Pfeiffer is described as “the deputy press secretary,” a title he has never held. At the time, he was deputy communications director.
Suskind himself will be able to defend his book this week during a series of interviews on The Today Show among other programs.