The interview is split up into a 30 minute video clip and a 12 minute concluding video clip.
An explosive new book that draws a searing portrait of the Obama administration’s failings, and early management of the economic crisis, has been met with sharp objections from officials within and outside of the White House. We speak with veteran journalist Ron Suskind, author of “Confidence Men: Wall Street, Washington, and the Education of a President.” He writes that U.S. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner ignored an order from President Obama to consider dissolving the debt-ridden banking giant Citigroup as part of a reconstruction of major banks in March 2009. Suskind argues that Citigroup was one of several incidents where President Obama’s authority was “systematically undermined or hedged by his seasoned advisers.” In the book based on interviews with more than 200 people, including former and current members of the Obama administration, as well as the President himself, Suskind also says the White House is a hostile workplace for women.
In part two of our interview with veteran journalist Ron Suskind about his explosive new book, Confidence Men: Wall Street, Washington, and the Education of a President, Suskind discusses the challenges faced by President Obama and his evolution as a leader. “You see the President grappling…to try to get his arms around what is often an untenable situation,” says Suskind. “He has a team around him with long Washington experience and long histories with one another. The President, meanwhile, is ramping up at Mach speed on very difficult, and often very complex, national issues, economic issues, for which there is no recent precedent.” According to Suskind, Obama muses he has “policy wonk’s disease” and now aims to be more dynamic in telling the American people “who we are and where we’re going.”
It looks like I may have to slog through this book. Economist Brad DeLong seems to like the factual content of the book, but thinks Suskind has drawn the wrong conclusions. I am particularly focused on the view that Obama had that the high level of unemployment is caused by the rapid growth in productivity and there is nothing the government can or should do about this, He specifically rejects the advice of Romer and Summers on this issue. None of this comes up in this interview.
My previous posts Errors Dealing With Economic Recovery Originate With Obama and Riffing on Obama’s Economic Follies cover Brad DeLong’s take on the book.