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New Book: Confidence Men: Wall Street, Washington, and The Education of A President


Anyway, he’s got a new book coming out, this one about the Obama Administration—specifically the worst moments in 2009 when it struggled with the most violent tremors of the economic crisis. This is when many of the decisions that were destined to plot the course of Obama’s Presidency, as well as the nation’s economy, were made. By Suskind’s telling, they weren’t made in the best possible atmosphere:

A new book claims that President Obama’s response to the economic crisis was hampered by a White House economic staff plagued by internal rivalries, a domineering chief adviser and a Treasury secretary who dragged his feet on enforcing decisions with which he disagreed.

The book, by Ron Suskind, a former Wall Street Journal reporter, quotes White House documents that say Mr. Obama’s decisions were routinely “re-litigated” by the chairman of the National Economic Council, Lawrence H. Summers. 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.

Mr. Suskind quotes from two memos for the president in which Pete Rouse, a senior White House aide, wrote, “There is deep dissatisfaction within the economic team with what is perceived as Larry’s imperious and heavy-handed direction of the economic policy process.”