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News Analysis: Geithner charges White House with telling him to lie, but fallout muted

English.news.cn   2014-05-15 10:02:59

By Matthew Rusling

WASHINGTON, May 14 (Xinhua) -- Former U.S. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner in his recently released book accused the White House of telling him to lie to the public, but the charge in itself is unlikely to galvanize the GOP, experts said.

Geithner, who headed the U.S. Treasury between 2009 and 2013, said in a new book that White House officials asked him to lie during TV appearances on Sunday political talk shows.

"I don't think anything Geithner says in his book, alone, will do much to galvanize Republicans. Instead it will be viewed by activists on the right as the latest in what they see as a long line of scandals, missteps, and misdeeds," Christopher Galdieri, assistant professor at Saint Anselm College, told Xinhua.

Galdieri noted that Republican activists would likely add Geithner's accusations to the list of what they view as other scandals including the attack in Benghazi, Libya that killed four Americans and a U.S. ambassador, and the National Security Agency's massive domestic spy program.

"But given that Republicans are already feeling good about their chances to win control of the Senate, I don't think (Republicans) need the additional motivation, he said, referring to November's mid-term Congressional elections," he said.

One of the main lies Geithner claimed he was told to relay was about the country's Social Security program.

"I remember during one Roosevelt Room prep session before I appeared on the Sunday shows, I objected when (White House official) Dan Pfeiffer wanted me to say Social Security didn't contribute to the deficit," Geithner wrote in his newly released book, Stress Test: Reflections on Financial Crises.

"It wasn't a main driver of our future deficits, but it did contribute. Pfeiffer said the line was a 'dog whistle' to the left, a phrase I had never heard before. He had to explain that the phrase was code to the Democratic base, signaling that we intended to protect Social Security."

Galdieri said that if that's the case, he did not see much fallout at all "whatever the merits of either side of the dispute I think this is sufficiently inside baseball that most voters won't care very much (about)."

Republicans are feeling good about November' s Congressional elections after a number of perceived presidential flops that have caused voters to cast doubt on Democrats. Those include the botched rollout of U.S. President Barack Obama's health care overhaul, which caused a few million Americans to lose their healthcare coverage, as their plans did not adhere to the new requirements.

Moreover, the Republican Party is expected to have an advantage in the Congressional elections due in November, as blacks, Hispanics, youth and single women -- Democrats' base -- tend to be absent from mid-term elections.

Editor: Fu Peng
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