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Extreme Makeover: Wall Street Hearts Geithner

The Wall St. Journal attempts to burnish Tim Geithner's image with the bankers - and most likely, to keep his oh-so-friendly face at Treasury. Notic

The Wall St. Journal attempts to burnish Tim Geithner's image with the bankers - and most likely, to keep his oh-so-friendly face at Treasury. Notice how the article lists all the wonderful things Geithner's done for the boys on the street. (I especially like the "this is not Bolivia" cri de coeur.)

Interviews with dozens of government officials show that Mr. Geithner has acted as a brake on administration officials seeking punitive action against big financial firms.

Last year, in a previously unreported move, he resisted efforts to oust Citigroup Chief Executive Vikram Pandit as a condition for more government aid, according to administration officials. He successfully argued against ripping up contracts that controversially allowed millions of dollars in bonuses to be paid to American International Group employees, stating: "This is not Bolivia," according to two people who heard him say it.

Mr. Geithner also has pushed for banks to repay government funds (making them raise private capital instead) in defiance of some lawmakers and government watchdogs who said the firms should remain under Treasury's thumb until they resume lending to help the economy.

"What we achieved in the financial sector was way above expectations," Mr. Geithner said in an interview, pointing out "how quickly we restored confidence" in the financial system. "As long as I believe that we are making good judgments...and fixing stuff that was broken in ways that are going to make a difference, then I can live with the consequences."

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