Mitt Romney adviser R. Glenn Hubbard is calling out former Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner allegedly lying in his new memoir, Stress Test. Though the economy has rebounded significantly since the financial crisis, Geithner, who's often been criticized for bailing out the big banks, still has his enemies. And his book has brought them out in full force.
Hubbard, who was Romney's top economic adviser during the 2012 campaign, specifically takes issue with Geithner's assertion that the Romney camp wanted tax hikes. During a private conversation about the Simpson-Bowles deficit reduction plan in 2012, Geithner claims that he said, "When you guys are willing to raise taxes, we can talk about Simpson-Bowles." Hubbard responded, "Well, of course we have to raise taxes. We just can’t say that now." Now, Hubbard is flatly denying Geithner's account. He told Politico's M.J. Lee, "Geithner is making it up." He continued,
He's going to go out and say what he wants. It just happens to be a lie. ... It's pretty simple. It's not true.
A Geithner spokesperson told Politico's Ben White, "Mr. Geithner's memory on this exchange is crystal clear. He stands by his account in Stress Test."
Geithner also hits Neil Barofsky, the former special inspector general for TARP, in Stress Test. Barofsky has long criticized Geithner for not doing enough to help troubled homeowners in the wake of the crisis. Geithner writes, "Barofsky's desire to prevent perfidy was untainted by financial knowledge or experience. ... He was outraged by every program, uninterested in context, unmoved by evidence of success, never burdened by having to examine alternatives." Barofsky wasted no time in providing a response, writing on LinkedIn,
Unfortunately, rather than addressing the many important policy disagreements that we had during the time — most importantly, our repeated criticism that Mr. Geithner's management of the bailout woefully failed to fulfill the promise made to the American people ... Mr. Geithner resorts to already discredited factual mischaracterizations and name calling.
Geithner also discusses disagreements with progressive Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Republican Sen. Mark Kirk, former Sen. Scott Brown (who's now running for Senate again in New Hampshire), President Obama's senior adviser Dan Pfieffer, and even former Treasury Secretary (and head of Obama's 2009 economic crisis team) Larry Summers in Stress Test. Geithner also made an early enemy of Dinesh D'Souza (the Obama critic who's now been indicted for campaign finance fraud), but that seems awfully understandable. He recalls their time together as undergrads at Dartmouth:
I did develop a strong aversion to the strident conservative Republican political movement that was spreading across college campuses ... After the Dartmouth Review, the intellectual center of the movement, published a McCarthy-style list of gay students on campus ... I ran into a Review writer named Dinesh D'Souza at a coffee shop and asked him how it felt to be such a dick.
Two people Geithner actually likes? Speaker of the House John Boehner and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. On Boehner, he says, "He had an easygoing manner, and he seemed lonely in his new position as a pragmatic conservative surrounded by extremists." And he suggested Clinton to replace him at the Treasury: "Among her many strengths, she had an under-appreciated ability to reach across the aisle." Both are relatively moderate and friendly to Wall Street, like Geithner.